Q: Did I see you post something in the past about dogs and snakes?
I'm getting nervous of the snakes coming out and my pup getting bitten.
URSULA HUGHES, via Facebook
A: Last week it was ticks and asparagus, and this week the focus is on rattlesnakes.
I guess it's the season, but because of the up and down temperatures, snakes may take their time coming out.
Frank Lundburg, a snake expert in Boise, says when rattlesnakes come out of hibernation depends on the average temperature in specific areas.
"It should be soon," he said about the Boise area. "The erratic weather the past few weeks indicates to me that it's still too cold."
One measure Lundburg uses on when rattlers or any snakes come out of their dens after winter hibernation is when he first spots garter snakes at the MK Nature Center in Boise or along the Boise River.
"I'm told one (garter) snake was seen on a rock at the Nature Center on one of the warm days a week or so ago. I haven't seen any yet there or along the river," he said.
We'll start seeing snakes when the weather is consistently a little warmer.
"Folks using the outdoors need to be aware that Idaho snakes have an optimum temperature range of about 68 to 78 degrees when they are most active," he said.
"Whatever time of day and season the temperature reaches that range is when snakes are most active."
Lundburg says when there are warm days and cold nights in the spring, snakes may venture short distances from their denning areas during the day but return at night.
I've been hiking in the Boise Foothills fairly frequently over the last week and haven't seen any snakes.
I'm going to be more careful as temperatures warm up, for sure.
When it's snake season, I keep a close eye on the dog and keep her close by and under control. Usually that means staying in the center of the trail.
If your dog wants to go roaming around in the rocks and brush, you might leash it up and walk the trail.
In spring, snakes like to warm up on rocks or in an open area where they can get sunlight, especially in the early hours of the day.
If you decide to take a break and sit down, be careful the rock or log you choose for a rest isn't occupied. Check the nearby brush, too.
Phoebe, our retriever, also has been inoculated for snake bite. You can check with your veterinarian about it.
If your dog is bitten, get your pet to the veterinarian as fast as possible.
But, the best way to deal with rattlesnakes is to avoid them.
Pete Zimowsky: 377-6445, Twitter: @Zimosoutdoors