Summer brings warm temps and scaly critters
April and May mark the start of rattlesnake season in San Diego County and recent reports have described increased snake sightings.
As summertime brings warmer temperatures, more fury and scaly creatures have begun appearing in our yards and parks.
April and May mark the start of rattlesnake season in San Diego County and recent reports have described increased snake sightings. As the reptiles come out of hibernation, it is not uncommon to spot them locally, though bites are rare. Most sightings are likely to happen between now and October.
“Snakes are most likely venturing out in search of food and to soak up the sun,” said San Marcos Park Ranger Ron Vinluan. “People think they’re going to chase you—that isn’t so. They don’t want anything to do with us.”
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, Vinluan continued.
To avoid encounters with rattlesnakes, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife suggests these safety steps that can be taken to 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.