Reptiles Out Early Because Of Warm Winter

March 28, 2014

(Photo courtesy of Heather Ehlers)
A hiker spotted this Gila monster trying to blend into the scenery at Pinnacle Peak Park in Scottsdale.
(Photo by Nadine Arroyo Rodriguez-KJZZ)
A view of east Mesa and Gilbert from Usery Mountain.

If you’re hiking throughout the Valley, beware. This year’s warm winter weather has made it possible for reptiles to surface early.

Thanks to the second warmest winter in Arizona’s history critters like rattlesnakes and scorpions are now out mating and feasting. At Mesa’s Usery Mountain Regional Park, there have been more diamondbacks slithering around this winter than in the last seven years. Ranger Brennan Basler said as a matter of fact, the park has been spotting them all year long.   

“There’s a myth that rattlesnakes hibernate here in the winter time that actually is not true. Here in the metro Phoenix area, when you get into temperatures in the 70s and 80s, the snakes can be out, and I’ve seen them every month of the year here, even in the middle of winter out basking in a nice warm winter afternoon," said Basler.

Gila monsters have been active early this year as well. Reptile experts say the venomous critters are most active between April and May, but the warm weather has lured them out now.