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Missoula PD warns hikers about possible rattlesnake sighting at Waterworks Hill

Posted at 4:13 PM, May 16, 2023

MISSOULA - The Missoula Police Department posted to social media on Monday, May 15, 2023, that a hiker was almost bitten by a rattlesnake while going up Waterworks Trail.

MTN News reached out to Missoula Parks and Recreation in an effort to confirm the report.

Conservation Lands Manager Jeff Gicklhorn says while he can neither confirm nor deny the rattlesnake sighting, he can confirm several sightings of bull snakes in the area.

Gicklhorn says bull snakes may have similar patterns and behaviors as rattlesnakes, even going as far as shaking their tail and hissing to imitate a rattlesnake, with one key difference — they are not venomous.

Gicklhorn advises all hikers who encounter a snake on any trail to slowly walk around them to keep from startling the snake.

When asked if Missoula Parks and Recreation would take extra action in response to this supposed snake sighting, Gicklhorn said hikers should be aware of the dangers and threats that wildlife in Montana can pose and to always be prepared with proper equipment.

Gicklhorn also advises all hikers to stay on the trails and follow the temporary leash restriction that's in place at Waterworks to keep their dogs safe.