Editorial: Springtime brings out desert dwellers, including rattlesnakes

Photo By Diane Drobka: A Mohave rattlesnake coils in a defensive and threatening manner. The snake bit Diane Drobka’s dog after an encounter while hiking in the desert south of Safford and east of U.S. Highway 191 on Sunday.

Column By Diane Drobka

Area residents are cautioned to be extra careful now that the daytime temperatures are up, and so are the rattlesnakes. They can be seen anywhere – in the desert, along highways, or right in your own backyard. 

While hiking with her dogs east of U.S. Highway 191 south of Safford on Sunday, Pima resident Diane Drobka encountered the first rattlesnake she’s seen this year. Unfortunately, Hunter, one of her dogs, immediately got struck by the snake that was coiled up under a bush. She suspected that it was a Mojave rattlesnake, one of the most venomous species. She quickly got the dogs back to her truck, turned on the engine and AC for them, and returned to the snake with her camera to snap a photo so that it could be positively identified.

Photo By Diane Drobka: Diane Drobka’s dog, Hunter, had his throat swell after being bit by a Mohave rattlesnake.

Dr. Debbie Chapman quickly responded to a call to her Desert Cross Veterinary Clinic’s emergency line and was waiting for Drobka at the clinic when she arrived. From the photos, Chapman confirmed that it was a Mojave and said that antivenin would be required. Hunter spent the night at Desert Cross and was back home on Monday and will make a full recovery.

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