By Mike Kinney
The East Bay Regional Park District (EBRPD) released a statement Thursday warning the public that spring and summer are active snake seasons in parks and open spaces, and that as the weather heats up, rattlesnakes, which are venomous, become especially more active.
The warning comes about a week after an elderly hiker survived two bites by a rattlesnake in Marin County.
To prepare local hikers, EBRPD has signs posted at trail heads of its parks. In its Thursday statement and on its website, the agency also provides safety tips:
1. Always hike with a friend so you can help each other in case of emergency.
2. Look at the ground ahead of you as you are walking.
3. Look carefully around and under logs and rocks before sitting down. ‘
4. Avoid placing your hands or feet where you can’t see clearly.
5. Check the area around picnic tables, campsites, and barbecues before using them. If you encounter a rattlesnake in these areas, notify park staff.
6. Also bring plenty of water for yourself and your pets as many parks do not have direct water supply.
7. Keep pets on the designated trails and away from snakes if they see one.
If you see a rattlesnake, leave it alone.
“Do not try to capture or harm it,” according to EBRPD. “All park wildlife is protected by law. If you see a snake on a trail, wait for it to cross and do not approach. Then move carefully and slowly away.”
If bitten by a rattlesnake, experts advise to stay calm, send someone to call 911, and to remain calm by lying down with the affected limb lower than the heart.
Don’t waste time with tourniquets or snake bite kits. Those who are by themselves when they are bitten should calmly walk — do not run — to the nearest source of help to dial 911, according to the parks district.
“If bitten by any other kind of snake, leave the snake alone,” they said. “Wash the wound with soap and water or an antiseptic and seek medical attention. If you are not sure what kind of snake bit you, 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.”
While some can be deadly, snakes are important to the natural environment, controlling rodent, insect and other reptile populations.
“They must be enjoyed from afar and left where they are found, according to EBRPD. “It is illegal to collect, kill, or remove any plants or animals from the East Bay Regional Park District.”
Additional information is available at here.