East Bay Regional Park District issues rattlesnake advisory

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East Bay Regional Park District issues rattlesnake advisory
Photo courtesy of the East Bay Regional Park District.

The East Bay Regional Park District released an advisory today on rattlesnakes, which emerge from winter hibernation in early spring and become more active.

Warm weather can bring more potential for rattlesnake encounters with humans and dogs, particularly along trails and roads.

Visitors are encouraged to avoid hiking alone in case of an emergency, to scan the ground ahead as they walk, jog or ride, stay on trails avoiding tall grass, and to look carefully around and under logs and rocks before sitting down. Keep your dog on your leash to be extra safe, park officials said.

If you encounter a rattlesnake, leave it alone – it is unlawful to capture or harm one. Move carefully and slowly away or around it and give it plenty of space, park officials said.

Those who are bitten by a rattlesnake are instructed to stay calm by lying down with the affected limb lower than the heart, then having someone call 911. Getting medical attention is critical. Those bitten should not use tourniquets, “sucking,” or snake bite kits. If you are by yourself, walk calmly to the nearest source of help to dial 911, do not run.

If bitten by any other type of snake, wash the wound with soap and water or an antiseptic and seek medical attention.

Not sure what bit you? Check the bite for two puncture marks (in rare cases one) associated with intense, burning pain, which is typical of a rattlesnake bite. Other snakebites can leave marks without associated burning pain.

The Northern Pacific rattlesnake is the species found in East Bay Regional Parks. Snakes are important to the natural environment, helping to control rodents and other reptile populations. But enjoy them from afar.

For more information, download the Park District’s Common Snakes brochure or watch our Gopher Snake or Rattlesnake video to learn how to tell the difference between rattlesnakes and gopher snakes. Additional information is available at ebparks.org/safety/wildlife-encounters.