Hold onto your Dog! Step onto the Log! Rattlesnake Season is Here!

Spring brings out Rattlesnakes in San Diego County. Your Rancho Coastal Humane Society (RCHS) is reminding pets (and their people) that they can avoid a snakebite by following a few simple rules.

RCHS spokesman John 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 tips that 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 emergencies (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!

John reminds us 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? “This sounds impossible, but try to remain calm. If you panic or run, it spreads the venom faster. And get to a doctor ASAP. Even if it’s not your regular physician or veterinarian.”

Try to remember what the snake looks like. The treating veterinarian will want to know how big, what color, shape of head, and anything else you can remember.”

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.

One more thing. That old myth about sucking the venom out of a snake bite? That’s exactly what it is – a myth!

For more information about Humane Education or to support Rancho Coastal Humane Society’s programs for people and pets visit the shelter at 389 Requeza Street in Encinitas, call 760-753-6413, or log on to sdpets.org.