Snake Safety

In Colorado, rattlesnakes leave hibernation as early as mid-March and can sometimes be seen on our trails and open spaces April through September. Depending on weather and threatening conditions such as wildfires, rattlesnakes may roam at any time of the day or night. If walking at night, be sure to use a flashlight. 

Rattlesnakes are the only venomous snake found in this area, and they are an important part of our ecosystem. They help control rodent populations are a source of prey for hawks and eagles. Follow these guidelines to help us keep people, pets, and snakes safe in Broomfield:

Encounter Avoidance

  1. Wear closed toed shoes.
  2. Stay on designated trails.
  3. Keep dogs on leash at all times.
  4. Be aware of your surroundings.

Encounter Safety

  1. Remain calm, do not make any sudden movements.
  2. Stop walking and determine the snake's location.
  3. Slowly back away from the snake.
  4. Give the snake time and space to move along on its own.
  5. If the snake does not move on, leave the area and choose another path to explore.

If you come across a snake, the best advice is simply to leave it alone! Picking up or harassing snakes are the most common causes of snake bites. If a bite does occur: call 911, keep the victim calm and still, and apply basic first aid until professional help arrives:

  • Have the victim lay or sit down with the bite wound below the heart.
  • Remove any rings, watches, etc. that could constrict swelling.
  • Wash the bite with soap and water and apply a clean bandage.
  • NEVER apply a tourniquet, slice the bite open, ice the wound, or attempt to suck out the venom.

Other Snake Safety Information:


  • Wear appropriate over-the-ankle hiking boots, thick socks, and loose-fitting long pants. Never go barefoot or wear sandals when walking through wild areas.
  • Avoid tall grass, weeds, and heavy underbrush where snakes may hide during the day.
  • Do not step or put your hands where you cannot see, and avoid wandering around in the dark.
  • If a fallen tree or large rock is in your path, step up onto it instead of over it, as there might be a snake on the other side.
  • Do not turn over rocks or logs. If you must move a rock or log, use gloves and roll it toward you, giving anything beneath it the opportunity to escape in the opposite direction.
  • Avoid approaching any snake you cannot positively identify as a safe species.
  • Remember rattlesnakes do not always rattle before they strike!
Bullsnakes can also be found in Broomfield.  Some tips on how to tell bullsnakes and rattlesnakes apart are listed below. Also take a look at this informative poster.

Rattlesnake
  • Broad, triangular head
  • Tail does not reach a narrow point
  • Rattle on tail
  • Relatively heavy or “fat” body
Bullsnake
  • Narrow head, barely distinguishable from the neck
  • Tail reaches a narrow point
  • No rattle on tail 
  • Relatively narrow body
On May 8, 2017, Broomfield Open Space and Trails staff received a report that a man was bitten by a rattlesnake along the Lilac-Burbank Trail near the intersection of Lilac Street and Lilac Court in Broomfield. The incident happened just to the south of the home at 1020 Lilac St., along the irrigation ditch. Below is a map of the site.

North Metro Fire Rescue District personnel (Station 61) responded to a report of the incident and transported the man to the hospital for treatment. North Metro was later contacted by Open Space staff to gather details on the incident. North Metro confirmed that they believed it was indeed a rattlesnake bite (not a bullsnake), based on the injury and the personal account of the man bitten.
Site of Snake Bite-resized