Mountain biker bitten by rattlesnake along trail in Apache Wash

PHOENIX (FOX 10) -- 75-year-old outdoor enthusiast Jim Watkins is recovering after being bit by a rattlesnake.

The incident happened on Apache Wash trail in Phoenix as he was climbing a hill on his mountain bike.

"I'm clipped in and I'm trying to get out so I can just plant my foot and not fall over," Watkins said. "I didn't get the clip out, so I fell into a bush and the bush happened the bedroom of a snake."

At first, Watkins felt OK. He continued to ride for about 30 minutes until he was finally convinced to get medical attention.

"This thing started swelling up like a balloon and it started getting painful," Watkins said.

According to rattlesnake expert Bryan Hughes with rattlesnake solutions, this incident is, unfortunately, a sign that their busy season is right around the corner.

"We're starting to get some calls in from people that have [rattlesnakes] in their yard," Hughes said. "And over the next couple of weeks, that's going to explode."

Hughes says our cool and wet conditions have delayed the snakes exit from their dens, but this week is looking to be the turning point. He says in cases like Watkins, the bite is unavoidable, but if you see a rattler, the best advice is just to leave it alone.

"A lot of times people see a snake on the trail and they have to throw pebbles at it, poke it with a stick or pick it up for Instagram or something like that," Hughes said. "Just leave it alone. No one has seen a rattlesnake that's over there and rattling and then was bitten by it unless they did something to deserve it."

The Banner Poison and Drug Information Center says they've had three calls so far this year regarding rattlesnake bites. Rattlesnake Solutions also has a 24-hour hotline for snake removal.