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  1. #1
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    Let's just say....I am rattled...

    Four rattle snake encounters this season and each time it's getting worse.

    First two at the Sonoran Preserve, sprawled in the middle of the trail. First I saw from the distance and stopped good 15 feet in front of it. Second was during night ride and I rode a foot away from its tail.

    Week ago, I was riding downhill and had one slither right in front of me, I barely managed to lift my front wheel. I didn't even look back...

    Today, I was going eastward on Pembo just past signs for Dixie. Doing about 20+ . I just heard the rattle and a loud hiss - I immediately picked up my legs. I stopped and there it was on side of the trail. It was probably chilling in a coil so I mistook it for a rock. I probably missed it by a foot or so.

    I mean I will admit. I never rode as much as I do now. Year to date I got over thousand of mountain bike miles. So I wonder if this is just game of chance, if you ride enough you will run in to rattler sooner or later. I am not native to Arizona so maybe this is norm and I am possibly overdramatizing this.

    However, I am seriously considering cutting back on miles in the Phoenix area at least until November. It sucks too, cuz I was really get into this sport.
    Last edited by metalaficionado; 04-16-2013 at 12:40 AM.

  2. #2
    Shred...it's the new drug
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    Don't let them rattle ya...I've been riding for years now and have only seen as many as you have. Keep a healthy distance and ears and eyes open and you'll be fine. A snakebite won't kill ya...just hurt like an SOB

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by latedropbob View Post
    A snakebite won't kill ya...just hurt like an SOB
    Statistically speaking, only 10% of rattle snake victims die from the bite. The other 90% wished they were dead...
    The secret to mountain biking is pretty simple. The slower you go the more likely it is youíll crash.
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  4. #4
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    just curious metal, what time of day do you typically ride? Also we have had decent rains this winter. that means more critter population. hence more snake food equals more snakes. i've seen many, sometimes two in one ride. I ran over a couple.
    RAM speed: UP, UP, and away....!

  5. #5
    Ahhh the pain....
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    I've definitely seen my share with all the miles I ride and only had what I'd consider a close call. When the heat comes on, I stop riding with headphones and am just a little more aware of where I put my feet when off the bike. If you think about all the people that are riding and getting near these things, there is rarely if ever a story of someone getting bit. It's a concern, but not enough to make me stop riding.
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  6. #6
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    I grew up in the desert. New River to be exact on 5 acres of raw desert. So snakes are a part of life. That said for some reason I don't see as many has you have. I saw one last year in August on the climb up windgate pass from the west side. I probably have ridden by others, but never noticed. I never wear headphones, but I am not looking for them either. The one I did see never even rattled as it was curled up on the trail and rode ride behind it.


    Best thing to do is to keep riding. Most of the time snakes just want to be left alone and will only strike when they feel cornered. Back away or don't get too close and they may try to scare you, but not strike. Most of my encounters growing up have been on our property where the dogs found them first. Then cornered them in a bush barking at them. If the dog stayed away they were safe, but if they got too close would get bites on the face. Of course that was time them to shoot the snake or kill it in some way was having live close to the house is bad news.
    Joe
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  7. #7
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    I focus on the idea that they really don't want anything to do with us either and they DO try t warn us first before anything bad really happens.

    I've seen the greatest number of snakes at Usery and McDowell Mtn Park but our friends are everywhere.
    "Nobody ever told me not to try" - Curious George Soundtrack by Jack Johnson

  8. #8
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    I am rattled, too. Enough that it has cut back on my solo MTB efforts. Believe me Bart, I am itching to beat my time on 'El Tour de Sonoran'! I am about 1700 for the year, but the last couple of weeks have spooked me good.

    Is there a safe time during the day when the snakes are not out? It's not like they have a curfew and go hide under a rock because I want to ride... I realize that. :-)
    -boom

  9. #9
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    Do coyotes eat snakes? We can just release more coyotes into highly populated snake areas plus it will help with the dogs off leash problem.
    Bender to AZDog: I'm not the best person to give advice on not riding!

  10. #10
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    Cutting down on riding because of snakes is your choice, but the chance of you getting bit while riding is very low.... You might as well stay off the roads since the risk there is much higher than getting hurt by a rattler...

    I have seen 2 rattlers in the past 3 weeks, both in PSP. But I have lived in the Desert Southwest for so long and seen so many of them, I am used to them...

    I would say the diamondbacks are more active than usual this spring...

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by boomvader View Post
    I am rattled, too. Enough that it has cut back on my solo MTB efforts. Believe me Bart, I am itching to beat my time on 'El Tour de Sonoran'! I am about 1700 for the year, but the last couple of weeks have spooked me good.

    Is there a safe time during the day when the snakes are not out? It's not like they have a curfew and go hide under a rock because I want to ride... I realize that. :-)
    IME as a longtime AZ resident.....Spring time (now) is when most encounters will happen. It's warm enough for them to come out and it's not too hot as the sun rises to force them back to cover. Unlike many parts of the country (again this is my conjecture, I am no expert) where snakes come out to sun themselves in the summer time, in the PHX area it's just too damn hot for them to be out once the sun begins to get high into the sky, at least once we get past spring time.

    Basically I think this time of year encounters can happen pretty much anytime of day/night with the highest probability of seeing them as the sun sets or afterwards and early in the morning. Once the sun is blazing hot at 8am in the mornings you won't see any during the day, at least it will be highly unlikely. I've seen them at SoMo on night rides though in mid summer.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by BIGHORN LEW View Post
    just curious metal, what time of day do you typically ride? Also we have had decent rains this winter. that means more critter population. hence more snake food equals more snakes. i've seen many, sometimes two in one ride. I ran over a couple.
    I would ride midday during the weekends although it has progressively becoming earlier due to the heat. I ride late afternoons and evenings in to occasional night rides.

  13. #13
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    Snakes don't waste venom like we waste time, don't worry about them.
    Nice KOM, sorry about your penis.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by MtbAZ44 View Post
    Cutting down on riding because of snakes is your choice, but the chance of you getting bit while riding is very low.... You might as well stay off the roads since the risk there is much higher than getting hurt by a rattler...

    ..
    I totally agree with this point, I think about it every time when riding the road bike, and try hard to convince myself of this!
    -boom

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by boomvader View Post
    I totally agree with this point, I think about it every time when riding the road bike, and try hard to convince myself of this!
    That's true, I wouldn't be able to relax road biking...
    Of course I cannot relax now mountain biking either !

    But, yeah, you guys are right - statistically it's an unlikely event. I had my wits about it until this near miss yesterday - scared the crap out of me.

  16. #16
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    It's that time of year, yet I seldom see them ... It took me almost 50 years to run across a Gila Monster.
    Cool looking little things !!

    As someone said, time of day has a lot to do with it, and they really don't want to confront you.

    And on that note ... This is when riding with a partner, or knowing you are within cell phone access becomes even more important.

    Snakes are as unpredictable as people.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by azdog View Post
    Do coyotes eat snakes? We can just release more coyotes into highly populated snake areas plus it will help with the dogs off leash problem.
    No, coyotes eat shih tzus.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    No, coyotes eat shih tzus.
    Hmmm. Can they be trained to eat those little blue bags full of doggy shih tzus.
    Drinkin the S-Works Kool-aid

  19. #19
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    Years ago when I used to ride Pima And Dynamite, during the spring it seemed I used to see one once a week or so. I'd try to bunny hop if I saw them in time but usually I didn't and had no choice but to run them over. I learned to fight my urge to brake and instead just pedal faster. Only once did one actually strike at me and he caught my back wheel. I was climbing through some boulders and he was coiled and I surprised him. They make a wicked sound when they strike. Sounds like a giant rubber and being snapped taught.

  20. #20
    Ride 'Til Your Knees Hurt
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    Worst encounter I ever had was a SoMo trail run. Up fire road, up Mormon, down lower Natty. It was probably around 5pm, late spring... Ran into 5 rattlesnakes that day. Still get the heebie-jeebies when I run trails.

  21. #21
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    Ran into this guy yesterday

    Let's just say....I am rattled...-photo_20130416_171259.jpg

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by ckeeler View Post
    Click image for larger version. 

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    I never ran in to one of those.

  23. #23
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    I quantify rattlesnake danger like this: The odds of me crashing and breaking a collar bone or rib are higher than getting bit, and the recovery from the crash is longer. Hence, i don't sweat snakes. I have lived here for going on 33 years and played in the desert for all of them (prior to here was a couple years in rural VA-water moccasins!) and have seen lots of snakes, heard of many hundreds of sightings and only know one person who was ever bit while hiking and not paying attention.

    If you get bit, remain calm and follow first aid instructions (no ice, no tourniquets or sucking/removal effort of venom) and stick around to ensure it was a rattler before high tailing it to the ER. Word is they like to be sure it was a rattler before giving the anti-venom. This time of year I try to ride within cell service. I figure if I got bit I could call 911 and let them know where to expect me to meet up if I think I may need transport.
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  24. #24
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    I got rattled too by this guy last year.....check out how he was in attack mode when I snapped the photo. Of course, I'm not sure what the likelihood of him biting me was, as I was going pretty fast. But I seemed to go right over the top of him, and was startled by the hissing/snapping.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Let's just say....I am rattled...-marchepicride3.jpg  


  25. #25
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    Read this thread yesterday and yup...... ran one over this morning coming around a corner on Black Rock. Never saw him until it was too late. Luckily he didn't see me until he was under my wheel.
    If you're lucky enough to be in the mountains,
    you're lucky enough.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by BCTJ View Post
    I got rattled too by this guy last year.....check out how he was in attack mode when I snapped the photo. Of course, I'm not sure what the likelihood of him biting me was, as I was going pretty fast. But I seemed to go right over the top of him, and was startled by the hissing/snapping.
    looks like desert tortoise trail in the Sonoran Preserve AKA the rattler city

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by cstem View Post
    I quantify rattlesnake danger like this: The odds of me crashing and breaking a collar bone or rib are higher than getting bit, and the recovery from the crash is longer. Hence, i don't sweat snakes. I have lived here for going on 33 years and played in the desert for all of them (prior to here was a couple years in rural VA-water moccasins!) and have seen lots of snakes, heard of many hundreds of sightings and only know one person who was ever bit while hiking and not paying attention.

    If you get bit, remain calm and follow first aid instructions (no ice, no tourniquets or sucking/removal effort of venom) and stick around to ensure it was a rattler before high tailing it to the ER. Word is they like to be sure it was a rattler before giving the anti-venom. This time of year I try to ride within cell service. I figure if I got bit I could call 911 and let them know where to expect me to meet up if I think I may need transport.
    Your experience is reassuring, it's hard to find some stats on the rattlers.

  28. #28
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    I was acutally coming down the Quartz Trail near the Cave Creek Recreation Area. I guess if you keep riding fast, what are your chances of getting bitten? On the other hand, it might be prudent to avoid riding alone in remote areas out of cell phone range to be on the safe side. I don't know what this means for all of the folks doing the AZT 300.

    On a side note, I didn't run into any snakes on this morning's ride, but I did run into this critter.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Let's just say....I am rattled...-roadrunner.jpg  


  29. #29
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    damnit jim,, i cannot see it.
    is that the elusive double-breasted swallow?

  30. #30
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    Roadrunner - I tried to get a closer shot, but it kept running away. Also, my shots are always so small. I think I need to buy a camera so I can post some decent photos on here - any suggestions?

  31. #31
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    BCTJ... Looks like you went riding behind my house. Although I am on east side of that wash if it is one I am thinking of just north of Fellowship off King Dr.

    I have seen Javalinas in that wash and even mountain lion walking in there. Not on the trail of course. Both were at dusk.
    Joe
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  32. #32
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    Yes, that's where Strava says I was. Moutain lions, huh? Maybe I can snap a photo of that sometime....LOL. How fast do you have to ride to get away from those?

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by BCTJ View Post
    Yes, that's where Strava says I was. Moutain lions, huh? Maybe I can snap a photo of that sometime....LOL. How fast do you have to ride to get away from those?
    Just a bit faster than the guy behind you

  34. #34
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    My last encounter was on the Long Loop @ MMRP. That was also the last day I rode with headphones........close call!!

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by BCTJ View Post
    Yes, that's where Strava says I was. Moutain lions, huh? Maybe I can snap a photo of that sometime....LOL. How fast do you have to ride to get away from those?
    I was in the backyard looking through the fence. The big cat was just quietly moving in the middle of the wash. There were in fact people on the path and I know they never even knew that thing was there.
    Joe
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  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by BCTJ View Post
    Yes, that's where Strava says I was. Moutain lions, huh? Maybe I can snap a photo of that sometime....LOL. How fast do you have to ride to get away from those?
    I was riding up on the Rainbow Rim trail alone doing an out and back. On the way out I saw my first wild turkey off the side of the trail. On my way back, near the turkey, I saw the back of a mountain lion move across the trail about 10 yards in front of me. Funny thing is when I saw it I thought, "Wow, that's a big cat......" Then my flight instincts took over.

    Let's just say, I've never riden that fast in my entire life for 2-3 miles thinking that cat was just chasing me. I was on a SS and I couldn't get my legs to spin any faster.

    The turkey was still there. I'm guessing the cat was stalking the turkey and I interupted it's hunt.
    I'd rather be hated for what I am, than loved for what I'm not......Dolemite.

  37. #37
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    I'm sure flight instincts take over, so you don't spend time thinking about it in the moment, but I feel like running away from a mtn lion is near pointless, because that thing is about 13920175471 times faster than I am
    "This fish who keeps on swimming, is the first to chill upstream" - 311

  38. #38
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    i think it would be better to face it while swinging your bike around and slowly walking backwards toward the nearest parking lot or building. until you're clear or it has visibly backed off.
    if that happens to be 2-3 miles,, so be it..

    maybe they could place like the equivalent of a small shark-cage midtrail out in remote areas that has high lion pop.
    just some chewproof place to take refuge in an emergency

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by longhairmike View Post
    i think it would be better to face it while swinging your bike around and slowly walking backwards toward the nearest parking lot or building. until you're clear or it has visibly backed off.
    if that happens to be 2-3 miles,, so be it..

    maybe they could place like the equivalent of a small shark-cage midtrail out in remote areas that has high lion pop.
    just some chewproof place to take refuge in an emergency
    need to learn how to ride the bike backwards

  40. #40
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    Does anyone actually know of a mountain biker bitten by a rattlesnake while riding on the bike?

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by bweide View Post
    Does anyone actually know of a mountain biker bitten by a rattlesnake while riding on the bike?
    I thought the same thing as you....

    I guess it does happen...
    7NEWS - Mountain Biker Tells Of Surviving Rattlesnake Bite - News Story

    but it has to be extremely rare.. I think this snake got real lucky..

  42. #42
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    It sounds like the guy ran right over the top of it, as he didn't have his glasses, and I'm guessing that he wasn't going very fast.

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by MtbAZ44 View Post
    I thought the same thing as you....

    I guess it does happen...
    7NEWS - Mountain Biker Tells Of Surviving Rattlesnake Bite - News Story

    but it has to be extremely rare.. I think this snake got real lucky..
    Larimer County Park Ranger Stephen Gibson said it's been two years since the last report of a mountain biker getting struck by a rattlesnake.

    Rangers told 7NEWS almost 80 percent of the rattlesnake biting incidents they see involve someone trying to handle a snake.
    Also the guy had poor eyesight and was riding almost in the dark.

    I gotta say though, I completely missed the rattler in McD's in full daylight and good vision. The sucker was chilling in a coil formation at the side of the trail. It blended so well and really just look like one of the rocks. I completely missed it. I was going fast too - 20 mph + so that probably contributed to me missing it.... and also gave the snake little time to strike at time.

  44. #44
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    I no longer fear rattlesnakes since I got my new gear.
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    Me to my riding buddy, "Want to ride this afternoon?"
    Him, "I can't. I have to chop this guys foot off at 2".

  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by BoomingSooner View Post
    I no longer fear rattlesnakes since I got my new gear.
    all you need are those boots

  46. #46
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    Does anyone know what kind of snake this is?
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by BCTJ View Post
    Does anyone know what kind of snake this is?
    Gopher snake??

  48. #48
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    Let's just say....I am rattled...

    Not in AZ but I was riding crafton hills in SoCal and a girl got bit by a rattler right before we arrived. Then two minutes later saw a big rattler off to the side of the trail. Needless to say the narrow sections through tall grass were no longer fun 😊

  49. #49
    No Stranger to danger....
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    Rattlers are nothing to worry about, come over here, we have snakes like the king brown that can stand 1m upright and can strike at waste level, are about 10 times more deadly than a rattler and they are not afraid to chase you, combine that with the taipan the deadliest snake on the planet that will chase you too, tiger snakes, death adders, theres 4 of the worlds top ten deadliest snakes on the planet in my backyard in sydney, we have 9/10 of the worlds deadliest here.
    Many keep imported rattlers here and they are well known for being very sedentary and easy to handle, they strike from ground level, more often than not from a colied position, easy snakes to pick up with the closest stick.
    you guys have nothing to worry about..
    Youd have to fall on a rattler, step on it or stand well within striking distance to get wacked, i wouldnt worry about them at all...very similar nature to out death adders.
    Dont ever let the truth get in the way of a funny story....

  50. #50
    SamuraiBunnyGuy
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    nothing ruins your day like riding over a fresh king brown on the trail...

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