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County Issues Rattlesnake Warning

While not a threat in Mountain View hikers, should be careful when hiking in the hills.

Between six to 10 people get bitten by rattlesnakes in Santa Clara County, and local fire and emergency services hope to keep those numbers down.

CAL FIRE/South County Fire District, Santa Clara County Emergency Medical Services (EMS), and the Santa Clara County Fire Department kicked off the "Watch Where You Walk" public service campaign this week in effort to remind hikers to remain vigilant to avoid venomous rattlesnakes.

"Mountain View residents that hike in any of the numerous open space preserves should be aware of rattlesnakes," said Bruce Hurlburt, the city's parks and open space manager. "There is always the slim possibility of encountering a snake on Stevens Creek Trail or in Shoreline Park, but it is fairly unlikely."

To prevent a snake bite, county officials suggest that people take extra care to look for snakes in high brush, under logs and when stepping over logs or fallen trees.

If there is a snake, people should stop and keep their distance. This would give the snake plenty of room to get away. They also suggest wearing heavy boots that are four inches above the ankle and long pants.

Rattlesnakes are often found sunning on rocks or trails, especially in cooler times of day.

Santa Clara County’s tip sheet suggests telling a ranger or park staff if you see a snake, and never try to catch it.

If you do get bit, these are the step for survival, according to the tip sheet sent out by the county:

  • Do not panic, remain calm, and slowly move away from the snake.
  • Call 9-1-1 or send someone for help
  • DO NOT apply cold pack, tourniquet, cut the bite, or attempt to suck-out venom
  • Avoid movement of the area that was bitten.
  • Keep the bite at or below heart level.
  • Do not attempt to kill or catch the snake but do try to remember what the snake looked like.
  • If you have time, take note of the time of the bite.
  • Remember, remain calm and wait for help.

About 7,000 people get bitten by venomous snakes in the U.S. annually, but only 1 out of 500 result in serious injury, according to the county.

"People should always be aware of their surroundings when walking in a natural area," said Hurlburt.

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Claudia Cruz (Editor) June 01, 2012 at 05:10 PM
I went hiking up in Sequoia National Park and in our group was an expert hiker and camper. He used his walking sticks not only for stability, but he said that if you tap the sticks on the rocks as you walked, it scared the rattlesnakes away. We definitely saw a few (not as big as in the photo above), but there were plenty to keep me on guard.

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