Escondido, CA

Rattlers on the prowl

The recent warm days in Valley Center and all around San Diego County area is a sure sign that summer is at our doorstep. There may be a few other things at our doorsteps.

The warm weather has awakened our snake community and as they explore their surroundings, the local human population’s concerns for safety have started “snake sightings” and concerns.

California has a variety of snakes, most of which are benign. The exception is California’s only native venomous snake – the rattlesnake. Should you have a close encounter with a snake, do not panic, back away.

Should you feel trapped or threatened by the snake, call 911 and explain the situation and ask for help. Stay in a safe location until help arrives.

About 8,000 people annually are treated for poisonous snake bites in the United States. However, the California Poison Control Center notes that rattlesnakes only account for about 800 of those bites each year with about one to two deaths. California rattlesnake species include the northern Pacific rattlesnake in northern California and in Southern California the Western Diamondback, Sidewinder, Speckled rattlesnake, Red Diamond rattlesnake, Southern Pacific, Great Basin rattlesnake and the Mojave rattlesnake.

How to avoid Snakes:

. Be aware of your surroundings at all times.

. Walk or hike in areas where the ground is clear, so you can see where you step or reach with your hands.

. Avoid specific snake habitats like brush piles, debris mounds, logjams, root systems, and abandoned buildings. Snakes reside anywhere small rodents may survive.

. Know that most snakes try to avoid human contact, but they will stand their ground if they feel threatened.

. Dress appropriately.

. When you are hiking, wear protective clothing, such as heavy long pants and high boots.

. Wear gloves when using your hands to move rocks or brush.

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