Rattlesnake Awareness in Hidden Hills
BY BELLA BALSAMO GILLIS
As summer rolls around, residents of Hidden Hills are sure to be thinking about the beach, the barbeques and fun summer classes. But, the one thing that should strike everyone’s attention is the rattlesnakes that live among us in the summer months. Dog owners, horse owners and parents should all take caution this time of year when it comes to rattlesnake safety. In southern California, the most common of rattlesnakes are the Western Diamondback. They are easily identifiable by its triangular head, diamond pattern on its body and, of course, it’s rattle. A rattler will detect if another animal is predator or prey by its heat-sensing pit behind each nostril. Where are they found? Rattlesnakes are not particular about where they live, they could be almost anywhere. You will most likely see them if walking in Ahmanson or an equestrian trail. This does not mean to be afraid to step into the heat, just be aware.
Rattlesnakes And Our Pets
Our dogs are our companions and our best friends, they’re also explorers and socialites. A way to ensure that your dog does not try to befriend a venomous rattlesnake is through Rattlesnake Avoidance Training. Real scents and real rattlers will be used for training. Classes are offered in Calabasas, information link is below.
Rattlesnakes view horses as predators. They are afraid of being trampled or stepped on. Rattlers sense vibrations in the ground, which makes them rattle, some horses get spooked and buck to this sound. Others are oblivious. This is why it is important to know your horse’s temperament and be aware of your surroundings.
Rattlesnakes And Our Children
www.marinmommies.com offers great advice for family rattlesnake awareness tips.
- “Children, and adults, for that matter, should never approach or try to handle any snake in the wild. Don’t be afraid of every snake you see—you’re more likely to run into a harmless (and ecologically beneficial) species like a gopher snake, king snake, or runner—but make sure you and your children have a healthy respective for these reptiles. Unless you are 100% sure what kind of snake it is, it’s best to stay a safe distance away.
- Don’t let small children run ahead on the trail. Because of their small body size, snakebites are far more serious for children than adults. And, if your kids are like mine, they usually aren’t on the lookout for potential dangers like snakes.
- Stick to well-traveled trails, and wear thick-soled, ankle-high hiking boots. Avoid tall grass and underbrush—snakes often hide there during the day.
- Never put your hands or feet someplace you can’t see. That means stepping on logs instead of over them, and being careful when climbing on rocks, over and through fences, and collecting firewood.
- Never handle a dead snake; it can still inject you with venom!
- And, of course, never hike alone. While your kids probably aren’t going to do this, grownups need to heed this rule, as well. Always have a cell phone with you when hiking, too.”
If You Come Upon A Rattlesnake
Remember: stay calm! If you hear a rattle, immediately WALK in the opposite direction. If you come across a coiled rattler, do not turn your back on the snake. Be quiet and calm; walk slowly and cautiously backward in the opposite direction. Call the fire department immediately to come pick up the snake.
Rattlesnake Prevention Tips
Homeowners can minimize the chance of snakes coming onto their property by:
- Keeping yard and surrounding areas of property free of clutter
- Keep plants trimmed short, avoid plants that grow tall
- Remove puddles and ground-level water sources
- Keep pests under control (or any other prey)
- Patch up holes in house that are close to the ground
- Put sulfur powder around house and on plants
- Put chemical repellant around house and on plants
- Put up a snake proof fence around property
- Lay snake traps ß