Wildlife Spotlight: Southern Pacific Rattlesnake

The Southern Pacific Rattlesnake is a venomous snake that resides in many parts of Southern California and Mexico. They are a fairly common sight and are regularly seen in a variety of habitats such as grasslands, rocky deserts, mountain forests, coastal dunes and more.

Although they don’t target hikers and children, they are still a threat to watch out for. Like all reptiles, rattlesnakes are coldblooded which means that their body temperature varies upon the environment. Rattlesnakes will sunbathe in the middle of a trail during daylight hours to recover from a cold night, a clear danger hazard to hikers and pets. They are also hidden in rocks, crevices, and among the brush and can defensively strike a hiker without warning.

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For the safety of those who wish to enter rattlesnake country, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife provides a list of do’s and don’ts. In the event of a rattlesnake bite, here are a few tips taken from http://www.wildlife.ca.gov : stay calm and act quickly, remove jewelry such as watches/rings/etc., and get to the nearest medical facility.

In the event that you are bitten and medical care is no where to be found then walk far away from the snake and sit down so that your blood can access all parts of your body. If you are in a remote area and your cell phone does not have service (your phone cannot make calls/text/ or use internet) try your best to find a park ranger or remember the last time your cell phone had service. For more detailed information follow these links!

https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/news/snake

What to do when a snake bites you on a remote trail?

http://www.aquariumofpacific.org/onlinelearningcenter/species/southern_pacific_rattlesnake

Be alert and happy hiking!

-Matt

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