CALDWELL -- A woman is recovering after a rattlesnake bite sent her to the hospital.
It happened Saturday afternoon, near the Willowcreek campground where Olga Cortez of Caldwell was staying with her family. She had planned to spend Memorial Day weekend camping, but instead, she spent three days in the ICU at St. Luke's Medical Center in Meridian.
Wildlife experts say rattlesnake bites are uncommon in Idaho, but it's a danger everyone should be aware of, especially this time of year.
Cortez says she was walking on a trail with her husband when the snake struck.
I felt something bit me but I didn't see it, and then all of a sudden I looked down, and there it was, said Cortez.
The rattlesnake had sunk its teeth into Cortez's foot as she walked near her campsite along the Boise River.
It was scary. It was scary, I was so afraid of snakes, said Cortez.
Cortez believes her husband had unknowingly startled the rattlesnake, and they didn't even see it until it was too late.
I started getting really hot, and numbness, and a really burning sensation and numbness, and by the time we got to the campsite I couldn't walk, said Cortez.
It took Cortez an hour and a half to get to the hospital, then she spent three days in the ICU with a swollen foot and leg. She's grateful only one of the snake's fangs hit her foot. The other went through her sandal.
It was very painful, she said. I think if I would have gotten both, I couldn't have been able to handle it.
Wildlife expert Frank Lundberg showed KTVB a gopher snake, that looks similar to a rattlesnake, but is harmless. He says the best thing to do if you see any of Idaho's 12 species is to remember that they don't want to be bothered.
Remember all snakes are really shy, he said. A lot of people don't realize this. They really want to be left alone.
Lundberg, who teaches rattlesnake awareness and outdoor safety classes for people and pets, says rattlesnake bites are rare. He suggests wearing heavy shoes and keeping your dog close by if you're hiking this time of year.
Click HERE for his website.
The rattlesnake is the only snake in Idaho that's dangerous, Lundberg said, but anyone who is bit should seek medical attention immediately.
As for Cortez, she says she'll still spend time enjoying the outdoors, but will be more careful.