Fisherman finds rattlesnake swimming in Sand Hollow Reservoir

ST. GEORGE — You won’t find any alligators swimming in Southern Utah’s lakes, but a man fishing in Sand Hollow Reservoir found another dangerous reptile gliding through the water.

A rattlesnake swims through Sand Hollow Reservoir in Hurricane, Utah, May 28, 2018 | Photo courtesy of Randy Hatch, St. George News

Randy Hatch was only a few hundred feet from the shore in Sand Hollow Reservoir on May 28 when he saw a rattlesnake swimming in the water close to his 14-foot aluminum fishing boat. He had just passed the buoys with the “No wake” signs on them when he noticed the snake.

“At the time, it was headed toward shore, but when it saw us, it started swimming toward my boat,” Hatch said. “I don’t think it was wanting to attack us, more like it just wanted to get out of the water.”

See the video of the swimming rattlesnake at the top of this post. 

Hatch was able to confirm the snake was in fact a rattlesnake because of the rattle on its tail and the shape of its head. He circled it a few times in his boat before taking a video of it swimming and leaving the snake alone.

Rattlesnakes can pack a poisonous bite that can cause lingering muscle and tissue damage. Rattlesnake bites are typically not deadly, but they can still cause serious pain, numbness and swelling.

Read more: Keep yourself and your dog safe from rattlesnakes

Rattlesnakes can indeed swim, and swimmers and boaters should avoid grabbing what may appear to be sticks or branches in the water, according to a tip sheet about the animals by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

A Great Basin rattlesnake slithers near water | Photo courtesy of the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, St. George News

According to the Utah Division of Natural Resources, the best way to stay safe from rattlesnakes is to keep one’s distance and not harass them.

“Drought conditions have reduced Utah’s rodent population, so snakes will be roaming more, looking for rodents,” DNR biologist Kevin Wheeler said. “Because the snakes will be active, there’s a greater chance you’ll see one in the wild this year.”

The Utah DNR offered a few tips Friday for people to stay safe around rattlesnakes this summer:

  • Reduce the number of places that provide snakes with shelter. Brush, wood, rock and junk piles are all items you should get rid of.
  • Control rodent populations. Bird feeders and water are two of the main items that draw rodents to yards.
  • Avoid scaring away harmless snake species, such as gopher snakes. Having other snake species on or near your yard may deter rattlesnakes from wandering through.

Wheeler said he’s heard of people using snake repellents, but he isn’t aware of any scientific testing that shows these products are effective.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter:  @STGnews | @SpencerRicks

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.


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  • comments June 6, 2018 at 12:19 am

    never seen them swim

  • Mean Momma June 6, 2018 at 12:24 am


  • Larry June 6, 2018 at 4:31 am

    “Just when you thought it was safe to go into the water”

  • JOSH DALTON June 6, 2018 at 7:49 am

    This is refreshing! The last time I was at this body of water, the fish were not even swimming. They were dead and floating on top of the water. I have not been in this lake since. I figured if the fish are not swimming then I am not getting in the water. Some of my buddies just assumed it was because I was black that I could not swim. This is not the case. I can swim. Not to mention I am a trained lifeguard. At least something is swimming! GO FALCONS!

    • LunchboxHero June 6, 2018 at 8:11 am

      LOL Josh

      • Striker4 June 7, 2018 at 12:31 am

        Josh sounds like a racist ! LOL

    • ladybugavenger June 6, 2018 at 5:44 pm

      You’re going against the stereotype Josh lol

  • Mike P June 6, 2018 at 9:07 am

    Slow news day? Oh look !! A snake swimming……………..

    • Striker4 June 7, 2018 at 12:37 am

      That was cruel to leave that snake in the water,they should of let it in their boat ! PETA won t like this

  • Gcia June 6, 2018 at 10:03 am

    Rattlesnake bites are not deadly? I don’t think that’s entirely accurate. Let’s say I get bit and then just put a bandaid on it, would it be deadly then?? I mean, it sounds like you are trying to make it sound as if it’s no big deal, and I’m no expert, but wouldn’t you need to go to the hospital and get very expensive very painful, very invasive treatment? Just sayin.

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