I remove rattlesnakes for the Reptile Rescue Service. Hot weather, fires and increased rodent populations have lured snakes into residential areas all along the Wasatch Front.
Great Basin rattlesnakes are benign in both temperament and toxicity. These snakes are often reclusive and will usually retreat if given the chance. They are reluctant to bite unless provoked, and even then, human fatalities are extremely rare.
It is against state law to kill rattlesnakes, and for good reason. These amazing reptiles provide a barrier between us and the vermin that would destroy our food crops and spread rabies and hantavirus.
Snakes perform this task silently and thanklessly. If you meet one on a trail, go around it. If you see one in your yard, have it removed by a professional. Reptile Rescue provides this service for free in the Salt Lake Valley.
Remember, if a snake has a pointed tail, it's not a rattlesnake. Rattlesnakes are the only venomous snake in Utah, and they have an obvious rattle on the end of their tails. All other snakes are harmless.
People are most often bitten while trying to kill, capture or provoke a snake. Live and let live.
David E. Jensen