As summer temperatures start to soar, we're all hoping to spend most of our days by the pool. It's the ultimate summer activity, and something everyone can enjoy.
When I was a kid, my parents used to tell me I was "part fish" because I couldn't stand to be out of the pool. I just had to be swimming! I loved all the different accessories I could use, like floaties, sponge balls, and pool noodles.
But according to the Buckeye Fire Department in Arizona, you could be in for more than you bargained for if you don't store your pool noodles properly.
Buckeye Fire Department shared a story passed along from a community member, warning people that different types of snakes, including rattlesnakes, will hide in pool noodles.
Watch where you store your pool noodles when they are not in use. Apparently, 2 pool noodles were left outside of the pool up against their cinderblock wall. The next time they went to use the pool, the pool noodles were picked up and brought to the swimming pool.
Out popped a rattlesnake. The snake did not attack, but was concerned about the pool noodles as there were a couple of young rattlesnakes who were still inside the pool noodle..
After some research, we found that there have been reports of snakes (NOT RATTLESNAKES-they do not lay eggs) actually laying their eggs inside the pool noodle itself or around pool noodles that have been left outdoors near bushes or block fences.
If you come into contact with a rattlesnake, or any other type of snake, stay calm.
One of the worst things you can do when coming across a rattlesnake is to start panicking. Snakes rely on vibrations in the ground to determine where you are. If you start moving fast and abruptly, you'll only scare the snake more.
If you've seen the snake before you came across it, give it a lot of space. You can easily walk around it without frightening it. Just keep in mind that rattlesnakes can coil up and strike at great lengths, so give it as much space as possible.
If the first indication of a rattlesnake's presence is the sound of its rattle, you've already startled it. Instead of running, stay still. Chances are, the snake will stop rattling and slither off after it has calmed down. Humans are much bigger than snakes, so they don't see any benefit in biting if it doesn't need to protect itself. They'll more than likely slither away to safety on their own.
If you have any questions relating to snakes and their behaviors, please contact Rattlesnake Solutions at 480-237-9975. They have some great tips and advice.
"During the summer, rattlesnakes will hide from the heat under any cover they can find, including but certainly not limited to pool toys," Emily Taylor, a biological sciences professor at California Polytechnic State University who has studied rattlesnakes for 20 years, says.
Bryan Hughes, owner of Rattlesnake Solutions LLC. says that it's not necessarily the pool noodle itself that the snakes love, but rather the environment.
"We do often find rattlesnakes at homes near pool toys and other pool equipment, including pool noodles," Hughes says. "They are not attracted to the pool noodles, though, but to the moisture and cool shelter that is provided when pool toys are stored improperly on the ground or against a wall. During the hottest times of year, rattlesnakes estivate and seek out cool conditions where they can wait out the heat until monsoonal weather brings rain."
But what if you do end up spotting a rattlesnake in your pool toys?
"One of the worst things you can do when coming across a rattlesnake is to start panicking," the fire department says. "Snakes rely on vibrations in the ground to determine where you are. If you start moving fast and abruptly, you'll only scare the snake more."
So how do you prevent it?
"We have been advising that home owners focus on overall prevention measures, like habitat reduction and rattlesnake fencing, and not to worry about their pool noodles and enjoy their pools as they always have," Hughes says.