Rattlesnake season is here and anyone living or walking in the hilly areas should be extra careful of these poisonous snakes. Rattlesnakes are easily identified by their broad, triangular heads, narrow necks, relatively heavy bodies and multiple bands of rattles on their tails.
Like all cold-blooded animals, rattlesnakes prefer cool and shady places. They are most likely to hunt for food, such as rodents and other small animals, during the morning and evening hours.
Characteristically, rattlesnakes would rather slither off than fight larger animals or humans. However, rattlesnakes will attack when frightened by noise, vibrations, or sudden movements toward them.
Also, be careful with outdoor pets. If they do happen to get bitten, keep the animal as calm as possible and take it immediately to your veterinarian for treatment.
To protect both your family and pets from rattlesnakes, the Arcadia Fire Department recommends:
• Clean your yard of piles of wood, grass and trash; these are places they like to nest.
• Rattlesnakes love small rodents such as rats and mice.
• Bury all ground openings such as gopher holes. Rattlesnakes sometimes use these as burrows or homes.
• Keep grasses and ground covers short. Not only will it discourage snakes, but it also reduces fire danger.
• Seal openings in and under buildings. This prevents snakes from seeking cool spots under your house.
If you live next to a canyon or uninhabited area, clear grass and light fuels and thin out bushes for a distance of 100 feet from your home. This also helps reduce fire danger.
If you see a rattlesnake:
• Don’t approach it! Do not make sudden moves toward it.
• Keep pets and small children away.
Remember, the snake is most likely just passing through. Be alert. If you are bitten, call 911 and stay calm. Either sit calmly until help arrives or go to your nearest emergency medical care.
For more information contact the Arcadia Fire Department (626) 574-5100.