LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Angelenos were being warned Tuesday of a potentially dangerous rattlesnake infestation across the Southland.
KNX 1070’s Jon Baird reports officials with the Los Angeles Zoo and California Poison Control System say 2014 could be the “Year of the Rattlesnake” due to a warmer-than-average spring season combined with some wet weather a few years ago.
Southern California is home to at least eight species of rattlesnakes, including the Western Diamondback and Southern Pacific rattlesnakes, though bites from Sidewinder, Speckled, Red Diamond, and Mojave rattlesnakes are reported every year, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.
While these and other snakes may be spotted anywhere from off-road dirt trails to backyards and front porches, experts say this year mother snakes are giving birth to a “bumper crop of babies,” prompting officials to remind residents that even newly born rattlesnakes possess dangerous venom and should be avoided.
“People are bitten when they’re trying to mess around with the animal, they’re trying to collect it or catch it or show off,” said LA Zoo’s Ian Recchio.
At least 84 people have been bitten by rattlesnakes so far this year in California, according to Poison Control officials.
While there is no shortage of myths concerning the proper treatment of snake bites, Poison Control’s Dr. Cyrus Rangan said people should always seek immediate medical attention.
“Don’t suck on the wound with a suction device or your mouth,” said Rangan.