Rattlesnake Season Heats Up With Sightings
As the weather heats up, you may see more rattlesnakes out and about. The reptiles come out of hibernation and it’s not uncommon to spot them locally, though bites are rare. Most sightings happen between now and October.
The snakes are most likely venturing out in search of food and to soak up the sun. Be extra cautious outside and be aware of your surroundings, especially where you place your hands or feet or where you sit outside. If you encounter one of the four varieties of rattlesnakes found in the county, give it space. Calmly back away from it, leave it alone and let it go on its way.
To avoid encounters with rattlesnakes, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife suggests these safety steps which can reduce the likelihood of startling a rattlesnake:
- Never go barefoot or wear sandals when hiking. Wear sturdy hiking boots with loose-fitting long pants to protect feet and ankles.
- Stay on paths and trails, avoiding tall grass, weeds and brush where snakes may hide.
- Keep your dog on leash while hiking and be aware of what your dog is doing at all times.
- Make sure you can see where you are reaching and that you can see ahead of you. Look for concealed snakes before picking up rocks, sticks or wood.
- Be careful when stepping over doorsteps as snakes like to crawl along the edge of buildings where they are protected on one side.
- Never hike alone. Always have someone with you who can assist in an emergency.
- Teach children early to respect snakes and to leave them alone. Children are naturally curious and will pick up snakes.
If bitten or you feel a snake or other animal is dangerous, call 911 immediately. For more information about rattlesnakes in California, visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/News/Snake.