As it is getting warm and we have had several sightings during recent hikes, we thought it useful to share this information.
One of the recurring hazards that we must be aware of during warm weather is the presence of the rattlesnake, which is the only venomous snake found in Southern California in the wild. Rattlesnakes, like reptiles, can’t regulate their own body temperature, so they tend to stay inactive in cold temperatures, and are more active when it’s warm.
- Be particularly careful when the temperature is cooling down at the end of the day and at night.
- If you hear a rattler – FREEZE – stay calm, locate the snake and move away slowly.
- Use a flashlight at night for better visibility
- See below for more information and precautions.
When are snakes most active?
Be particularly careful when the temperature is cooling down at the end of the day and at night. A snake’s ideal temperature is somewhere in the 80’s. This is why they are dormant in the winter. When the temperatures dip into the 60’s, you’ll find snakes burrowed for warmth. However, as temperatures rise into the 70’s and 80’s, they are more active. During the hottest days of summer, snakes will seek shade and hunt in the cooler hours of the day. Therefore, temperature dictates when you are most likely to encounter a snake.
Symptoms of a Rattlesnake Bite
- Fang marks.
- Pain, tingling, burning, swelling or discoloration at bite area.
- Numbness/tingling of mouth/tongue.
- Nausea/vomiting or weakness/dizziness.
- Sweating and/or chills.
- Breathing difficulty.
First Aid Do’s
- Keep the victim calm.
- Gently wash the bite w/water and soap.
- Immobilize the bite and keep it lower than the heart
First Aid Don’ts
- Don’t apply a tourniquet.
- Don’t apply ice to bite area.
Rattlesnake Bite Prevention
- Wear sturdy leather shoes/boots and long pants.
- Walk in clear areas – avoid high vegetation areas and use a walking stick to probe ahead, if you do.
- Don’t reach into blind areas.
- Step up on, or walk around, but don’t step directly over logs, tree stumps and large rocks.
- Always look for concealed snakes before picking up or moving sticks, logs, branches and rocks; wear leather gloves when doing so.
- After dark, use a flashlight.
- If you see a snake, don’t approach it