An increased number of rattlesnake sightings and a recent incident involving a horse that was bitten at Pescadero Creek Park are prompting the Department to remind visitors about the presence of snakes in many San Mateo County Parks.
As temperatures rise, the likelihood of seeing snakes, including rattlesnakes, on trails increases. Snakes seek the warmth of rocks and pathways and are usually spotted after sunrise and up to late afternoon. In very hot weather, snakes will be most active in cooler evening and early morning hours and they often seek shelter from the punishing sun in cool shade.
To be safe, stay on the trail. While on the trail, be aware of your surroundings and look ahead when possible to see that the trail is clear. Snakes can be spotted on rocks, in the middle of the trail or off to the side of the trail. Do not pick up, disturb or corner a snake. Most often, once you move away, the snake will flee.
If you are bitten, seek immediate care. If you are on the trail, ask a companion or passerby to stay with you while someone else calls 911. Be as precise as possible about the trail you are on and the location.
A rattlesnake has a distinctive broad, v-shaped or triangular head and typically has a rattle at the end of its tail. The rattle sound is a warning by the snake which it uses to make its presence known. Rattlesnakes are venomous and a baby rattlesnake’s venom is just as powerful as that of an adult. These snakes play an important role in the environment by feeding on small rodents, rabbits, birds and any other wildlife that can be swallowed.