Although rattlesnakes are typically elusive, it is not unusual for humans to encounter them during the spring and summer months as reptiles are currently awakening from their winter sleep at this time. Rattlesnakes are indigenous to California and are found in a variety of habitats throughout the state. Specifically in Yorba Linda, rattlesnakes may be found on hiking trails, in yards of residences, brushy areas, and even around the perimeter of some City parks, including Box Canyon. Generally not aggressive, rattlesnakes will likely retreat as long as they are given space and are not deliberately provoked or threatened. The City of Yorba Linda encourages residents to follow these tips to stay safe during the upcoming warmer months:
- Closely supervise small children and walk pets on a short leash on trails and in rural areas;
- Since rattlesnakes can be found in yards under wood piles or similar areas, caution should be exercised when picking up piles of wood or other items stored on the ground;
- When hiking, long pants and proper footwear should be worn (i.e. no sandals or open-toed shoes);
- Do not step or put your hands where you cannot see. Avoid tall grass and step on rocks and logs instead of over them;
- If your home is in a more rural area, use caution near your doorstep and around your home’s perimeter. Snakes like to crawl along the edges of buildings where they are protected on one side;
- Do not touch or disturb a snake, even if it appears to be dead, as a freshly killed snake can still inject venom; and
- Never hike alone and always carry a cell phone when hiking.
Although snake bites are uncommon, these steps should be followed in the event of a bite:
- Stay calm, but act quickly;
- Remove watches, rings, and other items of jewelry or clothing which may constrict swelling;
- Do not apply a tourniquet, ice the bite, cut the wound with a knife or razor, or attempt to suck out the venom; and
- Transport the victim to the nearest medical facility or contact 9-1-1.
For additional information on rattlesnake safety, please visit the California Department of Fish and Wildlife website.