Rattlesnakes active in area parks

Snakes are on the move in area parks and open spaces, and the East Bay Regional Park District is issuing advisories to those who also are taking advantage of better weather and exploring the outdoors.

Those visiting District parks should hike with friends, so help is available in an emergency, according to the advisory. In addition, people should look at the ground ahead as they walk, and look carefully around and under logs and rocks before sitting down.

People shouldn’t put their hands or feet in areas they can’t see clearly, and should check around picnic tables, campsites and barbecues before using them.

Pets should be kept on designated trails and away from any snakes, and those using parks should take plenty of water for themselves and pets, because many parks don’t have a direct water supply, the advisory said.

Anyone who sees a rattlesnake should notify park staff and leave the snake alone.

“Do not try to capture or harm it,” said Dave Mason, public information supervisor, in the park’s advisory. “All park wildlife is protected by law. If you see a snake on a trail, wait for it to cross and do not approach. Then move carefully and slowly away.”

Sometimes people are bitten by rattlesnakes. If that happens, the bite victim should stay calm and send someone to call 9-1-1. The bite victim should lie down with the affected limb lower than the heart, according to the advisory.

Those who are alone should walk calmly to the nearest source of help to dial 9-1-1, and should not run, the advisory said. The snake should be left alone.

If the bite is by some other snake, the injury site should be washed with soap and water or an antiseptic, then the victim should seek medical attention.

A venomous snake usually will bite leaving two puncture marks, although sometimes strikes with only one fang. The victim will experience intense, burning pain. Other snakes may leave multiple teeth marks and the bite won’t have the associated burning pain, the advisory said.

“Snakes are an important resource in the natural environment. They are prime controlling agents of rodent, insect and other reptile populations. They must be enjoyed from afar and left where they are found,” Mason said in the advisory.

“It is illegal to collect, kill or remove any plants or animals from the East Bay Regional Park District,” Mason said. “Please help us to protect wildlife and their environment for present and future generations.”

Those interested in learning more may visit the website www.ebparks.org/prks/safety/#Snakes.

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