Riverside County officials are issuing a warning about rattlesnakes. Rising temperatures mean rattlesnakes are beginning to emerge from their burrows. Snakes of many species are through hunkering down, making human encounters more likely. Snake bites can result in serious injury, or death.
Canyon Lake is a special draw to the snakes due to the lake, foliage and abundance of small animals that are food for snakes.
Rattlesnakes can be found in rock piles, wood piles, shade area and sunning on roads and concrete. Residents need to be vigilant, especially those with children. The key to stopping these encounters is snake proofing.
Residents are advised to:
- Remove rock piles, wood and debris.
- Not step or put hands where you can’t see.
- Apply wire around areas where snakes can hide under such as spas and yard ornaments.
- Avoid wandering in the dark.
Hikers are warned to be extra cautious during rattlesnake season. Rattlesnakes are more likely to be found on hiking trails and sunning in rural areas. Even baby rattlesnakes can possess dangerous venom as soon as they hatch.
- The California Department of Fish and Wildlife advises hikers to:
- Be alert
- Stick to well-used trails and avoid tall grass, weeds and heavy underbrush where snakes may hide during the day
- Wear sturdy boots and loose-fitting long pants.
- Carry a cell phone and hike with a companion who can assist in an emergency. Make sure that family or friends know where you are going and when you will be checking in.
- Leash your dog when hiking. Dogs are at increased risk of being bitten due to holding their nose to the ground while investigating the outdoors. Speak to your veterinarian about canine rattlesnake vaccines and what to do if your pet is bitten.
- Don’t touch or disturb a snake, even if it appears dead.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife recommends steering clear of the venomous rattlesnake – and knowing what to do in the event of a strike.
In the event of a bite:
- Stay calm and seek medical care immediately.
- Do not apply ice or a tourniquet.
- Do not try to suck out the venom, take aspirin or ibuprofen or try home remedies.
- Remove watches, rings, etc., which may constrict swelling.
For additional first aid information, contact the California Poison Control System at 800-222-1222 or visit calpoison.org.