Home on Whidbey is a family blog revolving around Fran, Ed, Brad, Yessi, plus puppy Benton, and our family, travels, friends, neighbors and community. Thanks for reading.


Snakes on My Mind!

Yikes, seven different species of rattlesnakes in California, and Brad is hiking the PCT in Southern California with most of them.  An important article describing rattlesnake characteristics, including habitat, range, behavior, diet and predators is cited.  However, despite the prevalence of rattlesnakes in California there are other common California snakes, including the Gophersnake, Coachwhip Snake, Sharp-Tailed Snake, King Snake, Racer, Ring-necked Snakes and Gartersnakes.  Other excellent snake sites are: Snakes - Mojave Desert Wildlife, Rattlesnakes in California and Photo Index of California Snakes.
Side Winder

Southwestern Speckled Ratlesnake
Southern Pacific Rattlesnake
Great Basin Rattlesnake

Panamint Rattlesnake
Western Diamondback

What Can be Done to Prevent a Bite?
Hands, feet, and ankles are the most common sites for rattlesnake bites. Using some common sense rules can prevent most snake bites.

  • Never go barefooted or wear sandals when walking in the rough. Always wear hiking boots.
  • Always stay on paths. Avoid tall grass, weeds and heavy underbrush where there may be snakes.
  • Use a walking stick when hiking. If you come across a snake, it can strike the stick instead of you.
  • Always look for concealed snakes before picking up rocks, sticks or firewood.
  • Always check carefully around stumps or logs before sitting.
  • When climbing, always look before putting your hands in a new location. Snakes can climb walls, trees and rocks and are frequently found at high altitudes.
  • Never grab "sticks" or "branches" while swimming. Rattlesnakes are excellent swimmers.
  • Baby rattlesnakes are poisonous! They can and do bite. Leave them alone.
  • Never hike alone. Always have a buddy to help in case of an emergency. Learn basic life-saving methods.
  • Don't handle fresh killed snakes. You may still be bitten.
  • Never tease a snake to see how far it can strike. You can be several feet from the snake and still be within striking distance.
  • Don't keep rattlesnakes as pets. The majority of rattlesnake bites occur when people (usually intoxicated young men in their 20s) tease or play with their "pet" rattlesnake.
  • Teach children to respect snakes and to leave snakes alone. Curious children who pick up snakes are frequently bitten.
  • Always give snakes the right of way! 

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