The photo above shows a rattlesnake spotted earlier this week near Craig, Colorado. The photographer says this makes the sixth rattlesnake he's seen in the area in the last week. Is Western Colorado experiencing an increase in the rattlesnake population?

According to Steve Harding, the photographer, he's seen six rattlesnakes in roughly the same area in the last seven days. He probably wouldn't think it was a big deal, but until this year, he had never seen a rattlesnake in the area.

Via his Facebook page, Steve says "These ba----ds are becoming d--- epidemic up here." Are they really on the verge of becoming an epidemic?

Why are we seeing so many now? According to, "snake activity picks up again as temperatures begin to fall in the late summer and early autumn before they go into hibernation as early as September or as late as December."

According to, rattlesnakes are found across Colorado at elevations below 8,000 feet. The website adds that where you have prairie dogs, you also have rattlesnakes. Sometimes, in prairie dog colonies, the number of rattlesnakes will exceed the number of prairie dogs, as many as 100+ per acre.

Do the recent sightings suggest any kind of increase in numbers? Following contact with the Division of Wildlife, it seems these recent sightings don't necessary indicate an inordinate number of rattlesnakes.

No matter how you look at it, this is still Colorado, and rattlesnakes should be expected. The website adds "in native prairies, foothills, and sun-exposed sides of mountains up to 8,000 feet, people should expect to encounter them and be on the lookout to avoid them."