More people in Lethbridge river valley could increase snake bites this summer: Expert

The warm weather isn’t just drawing Lethbridge residents out to enjoy the sun, it’s also bringing out the serpent population.

“The snakes have been out of their dens for the past two or three weeks now and some have started leaving the winter den sites and moving into their summer haunts,” Lethbridge snake expert Ryan First Diver said.

He added with so many people flocking to the river valley for something to do during the COVID -19 restrictions, snake sightings are up.

“People who aren’t used to being in the coulees need to hopefully respect that this is a wilderness strip.

“It’s not like the manicured parks, so if you bring your kids out here it’s not safe for them to just run around in the grass,” he said.

First Diver said more foot traffic in the area could mean more snake bites this summer.

“I’m a little bit worried about it this season, because people who aren’t used to using the coulees are out here and a rattlesnake… its first line of defence is its camouflage,” added First Diver.

He said there is also a risk to the safety of the snakes, because fast-moving cyclists going off-trail are no match for a sleeping snake.

“If you step off the trail or bike off the trail even a little bit, you could encounter a snake,” said First Diver.

He said he likes to see residents out enjoying the Lethbridge river valley but added it’s important to remember you are visiting the home of many wild animals, so be respectful and careful when out enjoying the trails.

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