YORBA LINDA (CBSLA.com) — Hikers and park-goers alike have been experiencing encounters with rattlesnakes as the reptiles wake up from their winter sleep.
Many of the rattlesnakes have been spotted specifically in Box Canyon Park, north of the interchange of the 91 and 241 freeways in Yorba Linda, resulting in heightened concerns among residents.READ MORE: No-Burn Order Extended Through Friday For Much Of Southland
“They’re all around here, we just saw one here, behind the gate,” resident Leza Bocachica said. “We keep our distance, definitely. We let the kids know before we come that they need to be careful and not go stray into the side area.”
While the sightings are alarming, they are not unusual. A wildlife disclaimer at the park’s entrance warns park-goers of the presence of rattlesnakes and coyotes in the vast open space and hills that border the area.
The California Poison Control Center tracks some 800 rattlesnake bites every year in the state, including one or two fatalities.READ MORE: Parolee Aariel Maynor Arrested In Connection With Jacqueline Avant Killing After Shooting Himself In The Foot
Chris Giacoletti, owner of the store Reptile Island, says that precautions based around common sense are the only necessity to prevent an attack.
“Back away, you know ninety-eight percent of rattlesnake bites are illegitimate, meaning people are trying to harm it, catch it, that sort of thing,” Giacoletti said. “So the rattlesnake is not going to go out of its way to attack you. It’ll protect its ground, so if you pick him up or step on him, that’s how you get bit.”
While it is important to be on the lookout for rattlesnakes, Giacoletti says there are a number of local non-venomous snakes that mimic rattlers, but are completely harmless.
“Once you learn to understand reptiles, they’re really not that scary or spooky. Not to say you should play with a rattlesnake.”MORE NEWS: COVID Omicron Variant Detected In Vaccinated Minnesotan Who Traveled To NYC Anime Convention
Experts advise anyone who suffers a bite to remain calm, keep the bite below the heart, and call 9-1-1.