SILVER CITY, N.M., Date, 2018 – Be aware of your surroundings, and there's no need to beware of snakes. That's the message from Advocates for Snake Preservation (ASP), a nonprofit organization dedicated to changing the way people view and treat snakes.

"Migratory birds are returning, wildflowers are blooming and snakes are starting to emerge from their winter dens," said Melissa Amarello, biologist and cofounder of ASP. "This isn't a reason to avoid the outdoors; it is possible to enjoy all the signs of spring, and that includes the return of rattlesnakes."

Months of cold weather can make it easy to forget this is snake country, so the first spring sighting may be shocking. With temperatures on the rise, it's important to increase awareness of our surroundings, so ASP is offering their Top Tips for a Safe Snake Season:

  1. Do not approach, handle, move, or kill snakes – most bites happen in these situations!
  2. Use lights when walking at night.
  3. Watch where you put your hands and feet.
  4. Create clear, wide paths throughout your yard for safe walking.
  5. Don't feed or water your pets or wildlife on the ground.
  6. Don't create shelter for snakes or their prey with debris piles.
  7. Do not use glue traps or bird netting – they trap rattlesnakes too.
  8. Learn your rattlesnake neighbors' habits and avoid their areas.
  9. Welcome non-venomous snakes, such as bull snakes and whipsnakes to your yard – they may make it less inviting to rattlesnakes.
  10. Observe and enjoy snakes from a safe distance!

Snakes are important predators and prey, and their presence indicates a healthy and productive ecosystem. Learn to live with them and appreciate your encounters.

"It is not only possible to live with venomous snakes, but can be very rewarding," said Amarello. "My first encounter of the year with a sleepy snake, just waking up from his long winter's nap, is something I look forward to all winter."

For more information visit www.LivingWithSnakes.org.

About Advocates for Snake Preservation
ASP promotes compassionate conservation and coexistence with snakes through science, education, and advocacy. ASP identifies and addresses threats to snakes, conducts research, and dispels myths and misinformation about snakes. Snakes are threatened by many of the same issues that affect all wildlife, including habitat loss, climate change, and disease, but negative attitudes toward snakes may be the biggest barrier to their conservation because it often impedes efforts to address other threats. ASP was founded in 2014 and is based in Silver City, New Mexico. For more information visit www.snakes.ngo.

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