Between 7000 and 8000 venomous snakebites occur every year, and rattlesnakes are responsible for most of them. You don't need to spend a lot of time in the wilderness to come across one of these dangerous snakes. These snakes could make their way into your backyard, and if they do, here's what you need to know. 

How do you identify them?

There are many different types of rattlesnakes in the United States. Some of them are very small, reaching lengths of only 1 foot, while other types can be as long as 8 feet. Their scale patterns vary, just like their size does, so they can be hard to identify. The one thing that all rattlesnakes have in common is a rattle at the tip of their tail; seeing this rattle is the best way to identify the snakes. 

Where are rattlesnakes found?

Rattlesnakes are most common in the southwestern United States, but they can be found in almost every part of the country. They like to live in a variety of ecosystems, such as forests, grasslands, deserts, and swamps, and if you live near one of these areas, you may find rattlesnakes in your backyard.

In your backyard, you may find the snakes sunning themselves on your lawn or patio or seeking shelter under a shrub or rock. They can also be found living in underground burrows, so be careful when you're gardening or doing yard work.

How dangerous are rattlesnakes?

Rattlesnakes bite a lot of people, but kill very few. Only five or six people die from snake bites each year in the United States. The bite is still incredibly unpleasant, though! Swelling is a very common side effect of the venom, and sometimes surgery is required to prevent the swelling from cutting off blood flow to the bitten limb. High blood pressure, heart failure, kidney failure, and uncontrollable bleeding can also occur. 

How do you avoid getting bitten?

Many bites happen when somebody stumbles across a rattlesnake, so when you do yard work, make sure that you wear tall, thick boots and thick gloves. Bites also happen when people try to kill or move rattlesnakes, so if you see one of these snakes, leave it alone. If you don't want the snake in your yard, call a pest control company like Chem-Wise Ecological Pest Management Services; they can get rid of the snake safely. 

Rattlesnakes are widespread, but they're also very dangerous, so remember to take precautions when you're working outside, and if you want to get rid of the snake, let the professionals handle it.