With the summer heat chasing wildlife onto the main post to seek shelter, many organizations are starting to see snakes around their areas.
Doug Burkett, senior ecologist for Eco-Inc. at WSMR, the natural resources contractor for the Environmental Division, said there are 27 species of snakes on the Missile Range and five of those are rattlesnakes.
He said rattlesnakes are a very common snake – so we do see them a lot.
Burkett has captured, recorded and measured over 4,000 diamond backs in New Mexico.
Whenever you encounter a snake Burkett said the best thing to do is: Stay away and do not approach. “The biggest thing to know is that snakes are never really aggressive and are almost always afraid of people. They want to stay away from you. They will do all they can to avoid people, but if they are cornered or grabbed they will defend themselves.” If they ever go toward you they are just trying to hide where they think they can get away from the perceived danger.
Cristina Rodden, DPW Environmental Division wildlife biologist, recommends keeping these very important facts in mind for all wildlife you may encounter on WSMR.
“Remember that snakes do a great job of controlling rabbit and other rodent populations, which are carriers of fleas that can spread plague and other diseases to humans and our pets,” Rodden said.
Burkett emphasized that it is against WSMR Regulation 200-2 to harass, harm or collect any species of wildlife on the range.
If you encounter a snake or other wildlife in your building or around the Missile Range that is causing a nuisance, call the following organizations in this order: Environmental Division at (575) 678-2225, Pest Control (snakes only) at (575) 993-608 or (575) 288-5742, after hours call Eco-Inc. at (575) 993-6066 and DES Police at (575) 678-1234.