Rattlesnake Safety in Regional Parks (2023)
With summer heat warming up the region this week, snakes may become more visible along some East Bay Regional Park trails. Snakes, notably rattlesnakes, typically emerge in warm weather to explore their environment, which can lead to more encounters with humans and dogs. When visiting Regional Parks at this time of year, visitors are encouraged to keep in mind some snake safety precautions.
Rattlesnake Safety Tips
1. Avoid hiking alone so you have help in case of emergency.
2. Scan the ground ahead of you as you walk, jog, or ride. Stay on trails and avoid walking in tall grass.
3. Look carefully around and under logs and rocks before sitting down.
4. Avoid placing your hands or feet where you cannot see clearly.
5. For maximum safety, consider keeping your dog on a leash.
What to Do If You See a Rattlesnake
Leave it alone - do not try to capture or harm it. 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.
What to Do If Bitten by a Snake
- If bitten by a rattlesnake, stay calm and send someone to call 911. Remain calm by lying down with the affected limb lower than the heart. Getting medical attention quickly is critical - do not spend time on tourniquets, “sucking,” or snake bite kits. If you are by yourself, walk calmly to the nearest source of help to dial 911. Do not run.
- If bitten by any other kind of snake, wash the wound with soap and water or an antiseptic and seek medical attention.
- If you are not sure what kind of snake bit you, check the bite for two puncture marks (in rare cases one puncture mark) associated with intense, burning pain. This is typical of a rattlesnake bite. Other snakebites may leave multiple teeth marks without associated burning pain.
Snakes are an important resource in the natural environment. They are prime controlling agents of rodents, insects, and other reptile populations. Enjoy them from afar and leave them where they are found. It is illegal to collect, kill, or remove any plants or animals from the Park District. Please help us to protect wildlife and their environment for present and future generations.
To learn how to tell the difference between rattlesnakes and gopher snakes, download our Common Snakes brochure or watch our Gopher Snake or Rattlesnake video. Additional information available on our Wildlife Encounters webpage.