How to avoid being bitten by a rattlesnake – California News

How to avoid being bitten by a rattlesnake – California News

Just like humans, rattlesnakes enjoy the warm weather.

As we’re spending more time outdoors in coming weeks, be aware, experts say.

Rattlesnakes don’t have it out for people, “they are generally very shy creatures,” said Brad Hollingsworth, curator of herpetology, San Diego Natural History Museum. “When they encounter people they become defensive and rattling is one of the ways they show that behavior.”

In light of two recent Inland Empire encounters that led to bites, experts warn of precautions as the weather heats up and people are spending more time outdoors in territory inhabited by venomous snakes.

This is the time of year snakes are on the move — it’s mating season. The mating season spans from March to May, according to William Hayes, a rattlesnake researcher and biologist at Loma Linda University. Males are the most active, slithering across the hills in search of a female. Females are also out seeking food.

What’s the best way to handle an encounter?

“Back away,” said Robert Fisher, a biologist with United States Geological Survey’s Western Ecological Research Center in San Diego.

But the temperament of snakes does vary, Hollingsworth said. When people approach, try to pick up, or in some other way approach a snake, “they become fearful that they will be killed.”

Experts, including Hollingsworth, Hayes and Fisher, say there are many myths that shroud the snakes.

• MYTH: The worst snakebites are those from baby snakes.

That thinking began in California in the 1970s and spread in the 1990s, according to Hayes, who also…

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