Snakes out on hiking trails

Huntingdon, Huntingdon County, Pa. - Spring is here and many are ready to stretch their legs and go for a hike, but you're not the only one out on the trails.

This is the time of year that rattlesnakes will come out of their dens after the Winter season.

An expert says they won't bother you unless you bother them. 

John Matter has been teaching Biology at Juniata College for 20 years.

He's passionate about rattle snakes.

"Rattlesnakes are nothing to be afraid of you just need to be aware they could be out there," said Matter.

Matter says now is the time these creatures can be visible.

He's seen them at many hiking hot spots in the region.

"The Thousand Steps is a very rocky hillside its got perfect exposure and slope where snakes like to get out ask bask on those exposed rocks and there are rattlesnakes up there."

He says snakes don't see humans as food and typically won't attack, unless they feel cornered. 

There has only been one fatal rattlsnake bite in Pennsylvania in the past 26 years.

Matter has been bitten and he recovered.

"I could feel the warmth and pain spreading from my finger up my arm and within five minutes my arm had swollen my finger was taught and tight"

He says if you do get bitten to go straight to the hospital.

Matter has some advice for hikers when they're out in the woods. 

"And I think you just have to watch where you put your, you have to listen you have ot pay attention to whats going on in the woods as you walk around and just give the snake a wide berth and then you can both go on your ways."

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