The Snakes are Coming
By Evelyne Vandersande
Editor, The Rattler--Placerita Canyon Nature Center's newsletter
In California if you have three days of cold weather, you get cabin fever and on the first warm day, you want to be out and enjoy the rays. Snakes are like you, they want to enjoy the warmth after months of coldness. This is also the time of the year when baby rattlesnakes are born. Sometimes, there is a second clutch in September.
Remember that the babies are venomous even if they are too young to have a rattle and consequently, could be more difficult to identify. A section of rattle is formed each time the snake sheds its skin and the babies might not have grown enough yet to shed their skin. Even at that tender age, the babies have plenty of venom and they have not learned that striking once is enough. Often, they strike a few times.
If you see a snake on the trail, back off. Leave it alone, it is in its home and you are just visiting. If you get bitten, do not run, ask somebody to take you to the hospital and remove any constricting articles of clothing or jewelry, as you will probably begin swelling—greatly.
It is a dangerous situation, but you are not going to die in a matter of seconds like in the movies. Once arriving at the hospital, you will be asked a few questions such as time of day bitten; you will then be treated with an anti-venin IV solution.
Most people get bitten in situations where they reach under a bush or in a place without visibility and they disturb a snake which was hidden, so be warned and take some precautions.