Staying Safe During Snake Season

snake on a trail

Photo: 29er4ever,

Green hillsides, fields of poppies, more daylight and warmer temps can only mean one thing: Spring has arrived!

Besides giving us more time to ride and otherwise recreate outdoors, spring also marks the start of snake season in Southern California. Love them or loathe them, snakes are an important part of the ecosystem, balancing the food web and helping to keep the rodent population in check.

Here are 5 tips for safely coexisting with snakes:

Stay alert and watch where you step. Watch for snakes sunning themselves on trails and fire roads in the morning and cooler parts of the day. During the heat of the day, snakes will seek refuge under bushes and other shady spots.

2) Stay on the trail. Avoid tall grass and weeds, where snakes are difficult to spot.

Learn the species. Familiarize yourself with the common snakes in your area, and learn to identify venomous species. Check out this guide to the snakes of Southern California, and educate yourself about snake behavior so you know what to expect when you’re recreating on Mr. Slither’s home turf.

Give them space. If you have a close encounter with a snake, stay still. Snakes can sense your movement and may try to defend themselves by striking. Give them space to slither away and do not try to prod the snake off the trail using a stick or by throwing things in their direction, which may further provoke them.

Stay calm. Snake bites do happen, but are actually pretty rare. And, death caused by venomous snake bites in the U.S. is even more rare. If you are bitten, try not to panic and follow these steps to ensure you get out safely to seek medical attention.