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snakes

Temple, TX
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278 posts
8 reviews
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snakes

Will be in the Black Hills for 9 days. We like to hike. Will be there in early Sept. Are there a lot of snakes during that time of year or really any time. We are from Texas -- have rattlesnakes, etc.

Just wondering. I hate snakes!!!

Pitman, New Jersey
Destination Expert
for Rapid City, South Dakota
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5,953 posts
61 reviews
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1. Re: snakes

I don't like snakes either!

The main place I have seen snake warnings was in the Badlands, and while there, we didn't see any at all.

I have not heard this being an issue and have not had any problems. If any of the locals know something to the contrary, please chime in.

Everett, Washington
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2,458 posts
55 reviews
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2. Re: snakes

Not exactly local but chances are you'll never run into a rattlesnake. Chances are even less in heat of day because they don't like too much hot and will usually hole up somewhere cool and wait for evening or early morning to hunt. Still normal precautions should suffice....watch where you step, look over logs and around rocks (especially shady side) before walking there and if climbing on rocks don't stick a hand up where you can't see what's there.

If you see a snake chances are better of it being a Western Hognose headed the other way. Still will scare the **** out of you but harmless. Rattlesnakes are a bit more common in the northern Black Hills (so I hear) anyway. I have some friends with a place north of Sturgis near Bear Butte that see them regularly but I suspect they are attacted to mice that are attracted to the livestock feeds.

Lead, South Dakota
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182 posts
2 reviews
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3. Re: snakes

Hey TDTTraveler, I've lived here for 15 years and have only seen one rattle snake (except at reptile gardens of course.)

Keystone, SD
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105 posts
13 reviews
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4. Re: snakes

If you hike in the Black Hills you won't have to worry about Rattle Snakes because their range is only below elevations of 4,000 feet. Most trails in the hills are above their range..

The Badlands however are heavily infested with rattlers and if you hike in the Stronghold Unit for any length of time when the temperature is above about 50 degrees you will see them -- usually sunning themselves on warm southern exposures.

The good news is that if you don't bother them, they won't bother you.

This is true for most western South Dakota critters -- the exception being porcupines which are slow moving and seem to have little fear of humans. And, yes, they can throw quills.

Recommended gear is a stout walking stick and over-the-ankle boots.

Nashville
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1,099 posts
79 reviews
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5. Re: snakes

We were at the Badlands in 08. Near the door and window trails, there were several "Beware of rattlesnakes" signs. We took pics of the signs, but never saw any snakes.

On our 08 trip, we spent a couple of days with friends in Buena Vista, CO, which is at an elevation of almost 8,000 feet. He took my son and me to fish at Cottonwood Lake which is at 9500 feet. As we approached the lake, there was a pickup truck stopped in the middle of the gravel road we were on. The truck moved on as we approached it. When we arrived at the point, there was a large rattlesnake coiled up and rattling in the road. None of us had a camera, which was a mistake just because of the views in the area. He said that was very unusual.

I would not worry about it. In the badlands, we hiked around the door and window area on a warm 75 degree day. We kept an eye on our kids and on the ground, but no snakes. I really wanted to see one, but we didn't. I know there are rattlesnakes at a state natural area within 3 miles of my house, but the only live one I have ever seen in the wild was that day at Cottonwood Lake.

Have a great trip.

Denver, CO
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394 posts
25 reviews
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6. Re: snakes

As a kid (40+ years ago), I once ran across a rattler while walking around near the cabins at Legion Lake -- elevation is about 5,000 ft there. I've done quite a bit of hiking in that area and seeing any snake is pretty rare. If you see one at all, it's likely to be a small garden snake.

Keystone, SD
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105 posts
13 reviews
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7. Re: snakes

In western South Dakota we have the Western Diamond Back species of Rattlesnake. According to the experts at the University of Texas, their range is up to 1.500 meters in elevation. In the Black Hills with colder temperatures and longer winters the elevation range is assumed to be slightly less, thus the 4,000 foot level. I have personally seen a rattlesnake at 4,200 feet but only once, and it was very small, less than a foot long. For more information you can follow this link.

…uta.edu/herpetology/western_diamondback_rat…

Now, on the other hand, if you want to see rattlesnakes in the wild, the Badlands are the place to look. May is a good month because they are freshly out from hibernation and temperatures are cooler. The best time is early morning on a sunny day when the temperature is about 50 degrees, because they will often find sunny spots to warm themselves. As someone else correctly pointed out, you will almost never see them out on hot sunny summer days because they will be under bushes or in burrows. Oh, and by the way, if you see one, don't play with it.

Temple, TX
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278 posts
8 reviews
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8. Re: snakes

Many thanks everyone. We will keep an eye out and hopefully will not see one, but, if we do, we will give it room! We are really looking forward to our first visit to the Black Hills.

9. Re: snakes

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