Rattlesnake season has begun in San Diego

It’s Friday! The weekend is here and the weather is expected to be hot and gorgeous! As I’m sure you and the pup will indulge in the beautiful outdoors, with hot weather in full effect please remember to be careful of RATTLESNAKES as the season has begun in San Diego.

Recently, Jack and I were confronted with the worst of the worst .. Anyone who knows me personally knows that I have a huge phobia of snakes, thus even writing this right now is giving me anxiety … Uhhhhhh.

Anyway yesterday afternoon while jogging the Villa Del La Valle trails on the east side of the 5 freeway in Del Mar, Jack and I came across a incredibly large rattlesnake stretched out in the middle of the trail. You can imagine how scared I was not just for myself but more so for Jack. Up until yesterday we have never come across a rattlesnake together. He’s never seen a snake and I did not know how he would react to it- my biggest nightmare being he would run up to the snake of curiosity and get bit.


Somehow between trying to stay calm on the outside and going panic crazy mode on the inside … omg omg omg … I managed to snap this photograph of the enemy. I noticed it early enough to buy space between the snake and Jack so that I could calmly talk Jack into walking back towards me and opposite direction of the snake- which is exactly where he was heading towards. I could tell by the reaction on Jacks face he knew something was up with Mom and came directly to me when I asked. It’s good to know in case of an emergency Jack can pick up on my cautious energy.

Granted I know people say snakes aren’t out to chase you down.. Yeah. Right. But due to my what I’m sure is an overly dramatic phobia, I don’t think Jack and I will be going to the trails as often during this time. I’m still not certain Jack won’t run up to a rattler is he see’s one and for that reason we are opting out of the trails and might consider investing in a rattlesnake readiness class for dogs. San Diego’s Total K9 Training offers a wonderful program for those interested in the course.

For those of you who will take advantage of the beautiful mountain and lagoon trails our friend John Van Zante from the Rancho Coastal Humane Society put together a go to Rattlesnake article with tips prepare you and your pup is you guys come across a snake encounter. Van Zante Says “Sunset is when you’re most likely to encounter a rattlesnake. People need footwear that gives protection. Keep your dog on a leash and on a well-used trail. And carry a stick. Hitting the bushes can scare snakes away.”

Other basic rules tips can save pets and their people:

* Don’t go places where there are likely to be snakes
* Don’t put your paws, hands or feet where you can’t see (like under a log or rock)
* Look before you leap. Step on a rock or log instead of jumping over it
* Take your cell phone for emergency (not to talk or text while you hike)
* If you stop to rest, look before you sit
* Be careful around water. Snakes can swim and they look like sticks in the water.
* If you see a snake…leave it alone!

Van Zante says that a rattlesnake’s strike distance can be one third to one half the length of its body and it’s faster than a human eye can see.

What should you do if you or your pet are bitten by a rattler? “Probably most difficult, try to remain calm. If you panic or run, that spreads the venom faster. Call 911 ASAP, because you want that antivenin within two hours of the bite if possible ,” Van Zante said.

Try to remember what the snake looks like. Your veterinarian or Emergency Room will want to know how big, what color, shape of head, and anything else you can tell them.

“We’ve also heard of people who pick up what they think is a dead snake, only to find that it’s resting. And even if it’s freshly dead, the bite-reflex can still be there. Leave it alone,” Van Zante added.

And that old myth about sucking the venom out of a snake bite….That’s a myth. ” – JVZ

I hope his tips helped. Please be careful out there! Not just on the trails but outside in general. Many San Diego county rattlesnake encounters and unfortunately bites are surfacing in household backyards, near swimming pools and inside the homes of families who leave back doors open!

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