Snakes slithering on trails have Tulsa hikers on alert


TULSA, Okla. — Springtime awakens creatures like snakes and spiders. This is why the river parks authority is warning trail users to be aware and not wander off the path.

Turkey Mountain is home to lots of wildlife like armadillos, deer, spiders and snakes. The River Parks Authority says there are 5 types of snakes to be on the lookout for.

Connor Doyle walks the trails at Turkey Mountain about twice a week. He says he’s seen many snakes on the trails and one time he saw two in one day.

“I think I’ve seen one rattlesnake but usually there’s just small green snakes,” Doyle said.

Doyle says seeing them on his walk sometimes scares him.

“Because you don’t see it until your right on top of it but mainly just have to worry about the dog when they see it first,” he said.

Ryan Howell with the River Parks Authority tells me this area is known for black rat snakes, garter snakes, eastern hog snakes, and copperheads. He says at least on the trails you can see them but they mainly live off the trails. That’s why he urges users to stay on the trails and not wander off.

“Because the forest is full of greenery now, everything is leafing out, there’s dead foliage on the ground and snakes are underneath that,” Howell said. “If you can’t see them you risk running into accidentally upsetting them by stepping on them.”

Howell says if a snake slithers into your path, don’t engage with it.

“They will not harm you if you don’t harm them. The number one cause of snake bites is people trying to get the snake off the trail or playing with the snake or taking a selfie with the snake. That’s when you are likely to get bit by a snake is when you engage it,” Howell said.

Howell suggests you turn around or stop and wait for it to pass. Doyle says that’s what he does.

“I just don’t get too close, wait till it gets off the trail and then just keep going,” Doyle said.

If you are bit by a nonvenomous snake, get a tetanus booster if you haven’t had one in the last 10 years and treat the bite like a wound.

If bitten by a venomous snake, like the copperhead, wash the area immediately with soap and water, remove jewelry and tight clothing, and call the Oklahoma Center for Poison and Drug Information as soon as possible.

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