Riverside County Animal Services urges community to be cautious during snake season

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Riverside County Animal Services says that while most snakes are harmless, it is important for Californians to be able to identify a venomous snake, because being bitten by one could cause serious harm or even death. Anza Valley Outlook/Courtesy photo

Warm weather is approaching Riverside County, which means that snake season is in full swing. The Riverside County Department of Animal Services dispatch center said that higher temperatures have led to more calls about snake sightings in the area in previous years. They said that while most snakes are harmless, it is important for Californians to be able to identify a venomous snake, because being bitten by one could cause serious harm or even death. Many Riverside County residents have shared photos of snakes found in their backyard over the past few weeks, asking people if found snakes are dangerous to humans.

Steve Hull of Temecula found what appeared to be a garter snake in his backyard near the pool. He said the snake was “timid, but easily picked up with tongs and thrown over the fence.”

Whether someone wants to remove a snake on their own or if they are scared of snakes, it’s important to know what to do when coming in contact with one. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, many people are taking walks or hikes.

Gary Nafis, a herpetologist in Southern California, has a website where people can submit photos of snakes found to identify them, and resources to find out more about snakes and how to handle them at http://www.californiaherps.com.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife lists some do’s and don’ts on their website, http://www.wildlife.ca.gov.

The most important advice the state offers is to be alert. Because snakes are sensitive to temperature, many will come out after a cold night to soak in some warmth midmorning. When going on a nature walk, it is recommended to be cautious and wear close-toed shoes to avoid an unprovoked snake attack. Snakes often hide under rocks, sticks, logs and other areas where they can be protected on one side.

Samantha Cox can be reached by email at valleystaff@reedermedia.com.