East Bay officials release rattlesnake advisory as more sightings by hikers are being reported

Bay City News
Saturday, May 4, 2024
East Bay officials release rattlesnake advisory as sightings increase
The East Bay Regional Park District issued a rattlesnake advisory this week as more of the reptiles are being spotted by hikers.

OAKLAND, Calif. -- It's that time of the year again when sunny spring weather brings snakes slithering across trails to warm up their cold blood.

The East Bay Regional Park District issued a rattlesnake advisory this week as more of the reptiles are being spotted by hikers.

The district said snakes are emerging from winter hibernation and becoming more active. Rattlesnakes are native to California and occur in a variety of wildland habitats, as well as in rural and urban areas.

Snakes are more active in warm weather, which can lead to more encounters with humans and dogs, especially along trails and roads.

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The district urges visitors to keep snake safety precautions in mind when visiting East Bay Regional Parks throughout the spring, summer, and fall.

"Snakes are an important resource in the natural environment. They are prime controlling agents of rodents and other reptile populations," the district said in a statement. "Enjoy them from afar and leave them where they are found. Collecting, killing, or removing any plants or animals from the Park District is illegal. Please help protect all wildlife and their environment."

The district issued some tips to avoid unpleasant encounters with rattlesnakes, saying people should avoid hiking alone so they have help in case of emergency. They should scan the ground ahead of them as they walk, jog, or ride. Stay on trails and avoid walking in tall grass and look carefully around and under logs and rocks before sitting down.

The district also said to listen for the buzz of a rattlesnake's rattle, warning of its presence. People should avoid placing their hands or feet where they cannot see clearly. And keep dogs on a leash.

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Anyone who sees a rattlesnake should leave it alone. Don't try to capture or harm it. All native wildlife is protected by law, and it is safest to leave it alone. Do not approach a rattlesnake. Move carefully and slowly away or around it while giving it plenty of space.

If bitten by a snake, stay calm and have someone call 911. Lie down with the affected limb lower than the heart. Getting medical attention quickly is critical -- do not use tourniquets, "sucking," or snake bite kits. If someone is by themselves, they should walk calmly to the nearest source of help to dial 911. Do not run.

If bitten by another type of snake, wash the wound with soap and water or an antiseptic and seek medical attention. If someone is unsure what kind of snake bit them, check the bite for two puncture marks (in rare cases one puncture mark) associated with intense, burning pain. This is typical of a rattlesnake bite. Other snakebites may leave multiple teeth marks without associated burning pain.

People don't need to identify the specific type of rattlesnake to receive the correct antivenom. The Northern Pacific rattlesnake is the species found in East Bay Regional Parks.

Download the district's common snakes brochure here. Additional information is available here.

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