The Natrona County Sheriff's Office on Tuesday reminded folks of a few rattlesnake safety tips, as temperatures rise and rattlesnakes are increasingly present in outdoor areas enjoyed by the public.

As snow continues to melt and water levels rise across the state, normally dry snake dens near reservoirs can become saturated with water. That forces snakes to head elsewhere, leading to an increased number of human-snake interactions.

Recently, the sheriff's office has seen more pets being bitten by snakes. Authorities ask the public to remain vigilant and pay attention in areas where rattlesnakes could be enjoying the outdoors as well.

Here are a few tips on protecting yourself and your loved ones -- even the furry ones -- from rattlesnake encounters or bites:

  • 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.
  • When hiking, stick to well-used trails if at all possible.
  • Avoid tall grass, weeds and heavy underbrush where snakes may seek shelter during the day.
  • Watch where you step and do not step in or near any crevice where you cannot see.
  • Do not step or put your hands into any crevice or other place where you can't see them.
  • Be especially careful when rock climbing or gathering firewood.
  • Keep pets close, in sight and away from rocky areas, tall grass or large areas of vegetation.
  • Don't 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.
  • Never grab things that may look like sticks or branches while swimming in lakes or rivers. Rattlesnakes can and do swim.
  • Avoid approaching any snake that you cannot identify as a safe species.
  • If you hear the warning rattle, move away from the area and do not make sudden or threatening movements toward the snake.
  • Remember, rattlesnakes do not always rattle before they strike.