Are Rattlesnakes in the Coachella Valley Out of Hibernation?
CoachellaValley.com 's very own Jill Hayes had the scariest encounter of her life while hiking in Palm Springs. By Scott Alvarez / CoachellaValley.comJill Hayes was out hiking when she suddenly came across a rattlesnake. While the California Poison Control Center suggests that most rattlesnake encounters in california occur between the months of April and October, it is not very rare for a rattlesnake to ‘pop out’ every once in awhile during the winter months. Many people believe that rattlesnakes act the same as other desert reptiles and go into hibernation during the winter, but this is not the case. Rattlesnakes actually undergo brumation during the winter months. Unlike hibernation, brumation is a state in which the reptile is simply inactive. Here are some quick Do's and Don'ts from Wildlife.ca.gov:
- Never go barefoot or wear sandals when walking through wild areas. Wear hiking boots.
- When hiking, stick to well-used trails and wear over-the-ankle boots and loose-fitting long pants. Avoid tall grass, weeds and heavy underbrush where snakes may hide during the day.
- Do not step or put your hands where you cannot see, and avoid wandering around in the dark. Step ON logs and rocks, never over them, and be especially careful when climbing rocks or gathering firewood. Check out stumps or logs before sitting down, and shake out sleeping bags before use.
- Never grab “sticks” or “branches” while swimming in lakes and rivers. Rattlesnakes can swim.
- Be careful when stepping over the doorstep as well. Snakes like to crawl along the edge of buildings where they are protected on one side.
- Never hike alone. Always have someone with you who can assist in an emergency.
- Do not handle a freshly killed snake, it can still inject venom.
- Teach children early to respect snakes and to leave them alone. Children are naturally curious and will pick up snakes.
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