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It's rattlesnake season in Arizona. Here's what you need to know

The weather is warming up, people are spending time outside in nature and in Arizona, that could mean a close encounter with a rattlesnake.

Michael Ring with the Phoenix Herpetological Society has this reminder: "It is quite likely that you are passing by rattlesnakes all the time without you realizing they're there."

And Ring says never try to touch a snake. 

"Rattlesnake bites happen when people are, a) trying to interact with a rattlesnake in a way that is really not advised or ethical. I mean, never put hands on a snake," Ring said.

The most common species of rattlesnake is the western diamondback. Ring said that's what most people encounter.

But there are others.

"We have six different species of rattlesnake that live in Phoenix alone, and 13 that live in our state. We are the most biodiverse state for rattlesnakes and venomous animals in general."

Ring says a rattlesnake is a wild animal that has every right to live in this ecosystem that they've inhabited for millennia. 

"Rattlesnakes are an inevitability. And just because you move near them while you're hiking doesn't necessarily mean that they are going to expose themselves. In fact, it's actually quite the opposite," Ring said.

He also advises not to handle a rattlesnake even if it's dead, because it can still envenomate you.

If you find a rattlesnake on your property, you can call the  Phoenix Herpetological Society Snake Relocation hotline at 602-550-1090.

"We have six different species of rattlesnake that live in Phoenix alone and 13 that live in our state. We are the most biodiverse state for rattlesnakes and venomous animals in general." — Michael Ring, Phoenix Herpetological Society

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Kathy Ritchie has 20 years of experience reporting and writing stories for national and local media outlets — nearly a decade of it has been spent in public media.