Summer usually means fun in the sun, but there could be something lurking in the shadows, hiding under rocks or tall grass... rattlesnakes. "Definitely a force to be reckoned with, they can cause a lot of damage, they can kill people for sure", said Ron Greenberg. Ron Greenberg owns Ron's Reptiles off Cohasset Road in Chico. He's dealt with rattlesnakes for decades and says they generally want to be left alone, but... " If provoked, they will stand their ground, and they will bite, it's a very painful experience", Greenberg explained.
The best way to avoid being bitten is staying out of areas where rattlesnakes could be hunting or basking in the sun. "Try to stay on established trails, don't put your hands or feet in places you can't see", said Senior Park Ranger Jessica Ergahl. The warmer weather brings the rattlesnakes out of hibernation and upper Bidwell Park is perfect habitiat. Areas with tall grass and rocks are where you'll most likely find them, but experts say if you do have a chance encounter, simply go the other way. " Leave it alone, they have a purpose, they help with the rodent population, they're not evil bad animals", siad Greenberg
According to the California Poison Control Center, 800 Californians are bitten by rattlesnakes each year, of those one to two individuals die from the bite. Doctors say if you are bitten, get help immediately, leave the wound alone and don't panic about the venom in your system. " Having a buddy suck it out... Not a good idea either. just stay calm and get to emergency services, it's the most important part", said Dr. Danny Abifadel from Enloe Medical Center.
You should also never apply a tourniquet, and remove all jewelry near the bite immediately, but it's not people who are 'most' at risk from rattlesnake bites. " Your dog is what is gonna be most at risk... Especially if you have them off leash, a dog's gonna hear or see a rattlesnake and be interested", said Erdahl. That's why you should always keep dogs at your side when walking in rattlesnake prone areas, allowing them off the leash will only get them into trouble. Experts also stress that regardless of what kind of snake you encounter, it's always best to admirer them from afar. " Whether you think it's a gofer snake, a garder snake, or a rattlesnake go ahead and leave it on the ground and just view it instead of touch it", said park Ranger Andrew Verbrugge.