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PHOENIX -- Spring is still about a month away, but mild temperatures have stirred native wildlife, including reptiles.

"We actually got two snake removals (Tuesday) and we were at 74 degrees," said Daniel Marchand of the Phoenix Herpetological Society.

At least 13 species of rattlesnake and a few other types of venomous snakes are native to Arizona.

According to wildlife experts like Marchand, people should look where they are stepping or reaching outdoors, and avoid sticking hands in areas where they can't see what you may be touching. During the hottest part of the day, rattlesnakes hide in shady or damp areas, particularly areas with a drip system.

Other tips for living with snakes safely include carrying a flashlight after dark and walking away if you encounter a snake.

Homeowners often put themselves at risk when trying to deal with a snake on their property. An estimated 80 to 90 percent of rattlesnake bites happen when homeowners take matters into their own hands.

If you are bitten, Marchand said to call 911, stay calm and keep the bitten area elevated and still. You should not drive yourself to the hospital, use a tourniquet or use ice to cool the wound.

Sandra Haros , Reporter

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