Warm weather brings out rattlesnakes in East County
SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — As warmer weather is felt throughout San Diego County, the U.S. Forest Service is warning people to be aware of rattlesnakes.
Dozens have already been sighted this year and the numbers have spiked in April the last two years.
“We always say that every season is rattlesnake season because of the moderate climate in San Diego County,” said County Animal Services Director Daniel DeSousa. “But when the temperatures start rising in the spring, so do rattlesnake sightings, and calls come in from the coast to the mountains.”
So far, County Animal Services has responded to 82 rattlesnake calls between Jan. 1 and March 31. Those numbers are low compared to the same time frame in 2017 when calls rose to 188. In 2016, the first three months showed 165 calls.
DeSousa can’t account for why the number is low for this year but he can say that April has seen the highest number of rattlesnake calls in 2016 and 2017.
If you see a rattlesnake on your property, County Animal Services recommends keeping an eye on it from a safe distance and giving them a call. Animal control officers will impound the snake and remove it to an area where it doesn’t pose a risk to the public.
If you encounter one of the five 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, Ramsey said.
If bitten, call 911 and remove any constricting clothing or accessories like rings or watchbands.
To avoid encounters with rattlesnakes, the Department of Animal Services suggests these steps:
- Wear sturdy hiking boots with ankle support so that your feet are protected.
- Stay on paths and trails. Avoid 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.
- Consider bringing a walking stick while hiking. If you encounter a snake it may strike the stick instead of you or your pet.
- Give rattlesnakes the right-of-way.
- If you live in an area where rattlesnakes have been found, check your yard before letting your pets and children out to play.
If you live in the County’s unincorporated areas or the cities of Carlsbad, Del Mar, Encinitas, San Diego, Santee or Solana Beach, call Animal Services at (619) 236-2341 for help removing rattlesnakes from your residence. Otherwise, call the animal control agency for your city.