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Snake season is underway

southern pacific rattlesnake

Snake season is underway. The Mission Viejo Animal Services Center received its first snake call of the year this week – that turned out to be a juvenile Southern Pacific Rattlesnake. The annual snake season is typically from March to October. Snakes keep our natural ecosystems working properly and are key in balancing the rodent population.

Every year, our Animal Services Officers respond to hundreds of calls for snakes. In south Orange County, Southern Pacific Rattlesnakes and Red Diamond Rattlesnakes exist. Depicted in these photos, the snakes are extremely dangerous and can cause severe and sometimes fatal injuries.  

Here are some tips to keep snakes at bay:

  • Fill up gopher and squirrel holes with stones and dirt. Snakes use those as passageways and will be deterred away from property if the route is closed.
  • Snakes like to move through areas where they are not easily detected. Clear any shrubs, broken branches or overgrown bushes surrounding your property.
  • When clearing concealed areas such as ivy, lawns and untrimmed shrubbery, poke ahead with a long stick. If there’s a snake, it will either attack the stick or glide away quickly. The desire to avoid direct contact is mutual.

Most snakes encountered are non-venomous, while the rattlesnake is the only venomous snake native to California. Observing the shape of the snake’s head, body and tail is a good way to determine if a snake is venomous. 

If you’ve encountered a rattlesnake on your property or public area, call the Mission Viejo Animal Services Center at 949-470-3045. Our officers are trained to handle and remove them safely. If you or someone else is bitten, call 911 immediately.

red diamond rattlesnake

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