2-year-old hospitalized after rattlesnake bite

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Rattlesnake photo courtesy: Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife

Rattlesnake photo courtesy: Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife

LOVELAND, Colo. — A two-year-old Loveland boy is recovering at Children’s Hospital in Aurora from a rattlesnake bite.

The toddler was injured while hiking with his family in the Devil’s Backbone Open Space west of Loveland Thursday morning.

Weston Smith was rushed to McKee Medical Center, but then transferred to Children’s.

He’s listed in fair condition. Thanks, in part, to a Good Samaritan who jumped in to help.

“She was walking erratically,” says bicyclist Joe Spinelli of Fort Collins, who had just finished his ride when he saw a petite woman carrying a little boy in her arms down the trail. Another young boy, about 4 or 6 years old followed.

He asked them if everything was okay. But got no response.

“I said, ‘Is everything okay, again? The mom did not turn around. The little boy turned around and said, ‘My brother got bit by a snake,’” says Spinelli.

He says the boy was unconscious, limp and vomiting.

Blood ran from two puncture wounds on his lower right leg.

“’Ma’am, would you like me to take your baby? I think I can go quicker. You take my bike.’ She turned around. You could see the anguish on her face,” he says.

She handed over the child.

And Spinelli made his way about a mile down to the trail head. Already, he could hear sirens. His only focus was not to fall.

“So I moved as quick as I could. I kept telling the little guy he was going to be okay,” he says.

Volunteer Park Ranger Everett Carlson spent the day warning families of the danger.

A sign also does the same.

“He told us there had been a 2-year-old bit a little earlier today. We decided to come down,” says one mom of two young boys who didn’t want to be identified.

Carlson says rattlesnakes are as common a sight here as the beautiful views—especially now.

“They are in hibernation all winter. We got a lot of rain. They want to get out of those wet holes and dry out and get some sunshine and move around,” says Carlson.

“They are bad this summer, they’re really bad,” says Spinelli.

He predicts the number of rattlesnakes this summer will be particularly plentiful.

He snapped pictures of a rattler that almost bit him on the Coyote Trail Ridge near his Fort Collins home last week.

“The only reason I am not bit is because he decided not to bite me. That’s the only reason,” he says.

But for now, his only thoughts are on a child he doesn’t even know.

“I just hope he’s okay. I hope he pulls through okay.”

Colorado Parks and Wildlife says most rattlesnakes are active when temperatures are between 50 and 80 degrees.

They often come out in the mornings or evenings.

And when it’s hot, they seek refuge in cooler, shaded areas like woodpiles, bushes, shrubs and crevices.