New study shows as temperatures increase, so does risk of snake bites around Phoenix

Snakes are trying to seek shelter and cool down due to the record heat, and homes provide a water source and shade.
Published: Aug. 7, 2023 at 11:15 AM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) Snakes are usually unwelcome guests, especially inside homes. But because of our recent record-breaking heat, the odds of seeing one are going up.

Many are trying to seek shelter and cool down, and homes provide a water source and shade. And a new study out of Emory University found that for every degree that daily temperatures increase, the likelihood you’re bit by a snake also increases by 6%. That’s because their shelter-seeking behavior increases the odds of encounters with humans.

Snakes are cold-blooded and if their bodies get above 105 degrees, it can cause permanent damage, said Bryan Hughes, the owner of Rattlesnake Solutions in the Valley. This year in Phoenix, experts are seeing more encounters at homes than ever before.

“This year, the average day is about three times as busy as a similar day last year. We’ve definitely noticed an increase in encounters this year at homes,” Hughes said. “So, compared to last year, we had a really good monsoon and a lot of moisture. These snakes were not struggling as much to find places to stay cool, find places to drink.”

Hughes said they like to find spots that are cooler and have moisture. They will often curl up in pool drainage areas, buckets, and crawl spaces under homes.

So, what should you do if you find one? Don’t get close and immediately call a pest control company to remove it. Many here in the Valley operate 24 hours a day. But know that if you live close to a desert area and have a pool or a sprinkler, the odds of another coming back are high.

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