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Outdoor Easter egg hunts carry potential of rattlesnake encounters

PHOENIX – Easter is on Sunday and that means Easter egg hunts at homes around the Valley will be underway, but the Phoenix Herpetological Society says parents should be careful where they hide those eggs.

Placing eggs underneath bushes or behind rocks could be very dangerous this time of year, especially with the recent warm weather in the Valley, according to Russ Johnson, president of the Phoenix Herpetological Society.

“Our biggest concern is, of course, the rattlesnake,” he said.

Johnson said many reptiles are coming out of hibernation and during the hot daytimes, often seek shade under rocks or bushes.

He said it is rare, but hiding eggs in those areas can increase the chance of being bitten.

“It’s a traumatic experience, it’s extremely painful,” Johnson said. “It’s worse than breaking bones.”

Depending on the bite and size of the person, bites from rattlesnakes carry the potential of being fatal, Johnson said.

He said scorpions and black widows can also be found in similar areas and pose risks to kids who might be searching for eggs.

Johnson said parents should be mindful of where they place Easter eggs for kids and it is best to leave them out in the open.

“You need to put those eggs in clear view where you can see where you’re putting them and you can watch where you kid’s hands are going,” he said.