Rattlesnake Warning As Weather Warms Up On Central And South Coasts
As the weather warms up this Spring, the hot, dry conditions in our region increase the likelihood of an encounter with a rattlesnake.
It’s not rural, but there is countryside around a housing complex in Westlake Village, Ventura County.
Resident Allen Haren says that he has spotted rattlesnakes there many times, in locations where folks walk their dogs and kids play.
"A neighbor saw a snake right by the parking lot, and then later that afternoon, I was sitting on my patio and I see a little head pop up!" he told KCLU.
"Sure enough it was a snake. I saw the head and saw the rattle - and I said to myself, 'rattlesnake.'"
He says he's become particularly alert to the creatures after stumbling across one while pushing his 2 and a half year old son on his tricycle.
"I pulled out my phone and started reading some e-mails and within 10 seconds there is a rattlesnake next to my foot and his wheel. It was feet from a patio. It really gave me a startle," says Haren.
He says he keeps his phone firmly in his pocket now and his eyes on where he's walking, after, he admits, "letting my guard down" for just a few seconds.
That's good advice, says Tim Daly from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Rattlesnakes, a venomous species, are widespread in California, and Daly says they’re more active at this time of year as the weather warms up.
"The weather is turning and we're looking forward to blue skies and getting out for some exercise," he told KCLU. "Rattlesnakes aren't much different, they're also enjoying the warm weather and hot and dry conditions."
Most rattlesnake bites occur between the months of April and October, when snakes and humans are at their most active outdoors.
Daly says that it’s important to know the precautions to take to avoid a bite – but if the worst happens and you are bitten – it’s important to stay calm.
"Know where you're walking and make sure you're keeping your eye on the trail," he advises.
"Make sure you're wearing good boots and long loose-fitting pants, " he says.
Daly says that rattlesnakes are rarely on the offensive but they will strike defensively if they feel threatened.
A bite requires medical attention as quickly as possible, and Daly says to remove any watches or rings which may restrict swelling.
He also advises against applying a tourniquet, or icing a rattlesnake bite, and not to cut the bite with a knife or razor.
"You don't suck out the venom with your mouth," he adds. "I think that's something we've all seen in a movie or two."
More details on how to be aware of rattlesnakes can be found on the Department of Fish and Wildlife website.