Rattlesnakes abound in the Anza Valley

This rattlesnake is camouflaged in the dry grass, making it difficult to see. Anza Valley Outlook/Diane Sieker photo
Rattlesnake sightings and interactions have been on the increase since warm weather has returned to the Anza Valley. As temperatures increase, so do the reptiles’ activity levels. So far this season, there have been dozens of reported rattler sightings. The animals are becoming more mobile as the weather warms up and residents should be alert for unintended contact. The winter rains have resulted in a population explosion of the snakes’ preferred prey – small rodents like mice, rats and ground squirrels. The increase in prey in turn encourages movement of the serpents as they search for food. To hunt, a rattlesnake utilizes heat-sensing organs on each side of its face, called loreal pits, that help them locate prey. Snake species that have these organs are called pit vipers,
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