Vacation 2013 – Part 11 – Beware the endangered!
Over the past few years we have visited Lethbridge several times, this is our second visit here this year. We have learned quite a lot about the southern Alberta city. One of the things that is interesting to me is Lethbridge’s snake population. Most of you are probably thinking garter snakes, bullsnakes or something similar but, what I am thinking about is the Rattlesnake population. Here is a City of Lethbridge posting from early May of this year;
“As rattlesnakes emerge after a winter in hibernation, the City of Lethbridge is providing information to residents about the key role rattlesnakes play in our ecosystem, particularly to the rodent population and what residents should know.
If you encounter a rattlesnake, walk away from it slowly. Be sure to look where you are walking, just in case there is another one nearby. Give the snake plenty of room to escape from you.
The rattlesnake population in Lethbridge is small and likely dwindling. Most rattlesnake sightings are in the Southwest area including Paradise Canyon, RiverStone, SunRidge, Popson Park and Cottonwood Park, however they have been occasionally spotted throughout the City.
Rattlesnakes are not aggressive and given a choice would rather retreat than strike. When walking in areas known for rattlesnake sightings such as Popson Park, Cottonwood Park and Canyon Crest Playground, keep dogs on leash and controlled. Please do not run over rattlesnakes on the road.
Rattlesnakes are blued-listed which means they have undergone declines in population or habitat and may be at risk. It is illegal to kill rattlesnakes, possess rattlesnakes or their parts or damage denning areas. There are significant fines and charges for killing a rattlesnake in Alberta.
If you require a rattlesnake to be removed from an urban or recreational area, please call the Rattlesnake Call Line”
One area of Lethbridge with Rattlesnakes is Popson Park. The interesting thing about Popson Park is that it is a great walking, hiking and biking area and is also an off leash area for dogs. My understanding is that Popson Park is an area that is a natural habitat for Rattlesnakes and there are quite a few hibernicula (Rattlesnake dens) there. Another area is the Bridge View Drive area. Bridge View Drive is what we use to get from our RV site to Kyla’s new apartment. Bridge View Drive is a snake crossing area and signs are posted at both the top and bottom of the drive. I have yet to see a Rattlesnake here, last year I photographed a garter snake a few metres from the exact RV site we are in this year (we have the same site this year as we did last). Rattlesnakes are protected here in Lethbridge and killing one would be very problematic if caught. In 2005 while visiting Red Rock Canyon near Denver, Colorado, Kyla and I went to Rattlesnake School. It was a short class that taught attendees about how the snakes react to us, what the rattle sounds like, what to do if you encounter a snake along the trails and we were even given a rattle to shake and examine. Do you know more people die from bee stings than by Rattlesnake bites? Tonight as I went for a quick drive I stopped along Bridge View Drive and walked next to the grassy area. I heard a lot of crickets but, I am sure that I heard a few snakes as well. I was sure to keep a good distance between myself and the tall grass (a Rattlesnake can generally attack from about twice its length). It was cool and kind of nerve raking at the same time. Today we also visited some family and one of them is a nurse here in Lethbridge. With Dale being a nurse there was a little hospital talk and one of the questions was if the hospital here gets many snake bite victims. We were told that there are usually a few but it seems to be rare. That is good to know.
So, that is my interest fact about the City of Lethbridge. If you ever visit here go to Popson Park and check it out or not, lol. I need to go rest up as there is a Waterton Park trip planned for tomorrow and my camera and I need to be ready. Here are some shots of what to look for when hiking around the Lethbridge area. Enjoy, thanks for being here and as always Happy Shooting.