Rattlesnakes Rearing Their Heads; SBWCN Has Some Tips

By Nick Masuda   |   July 1, 2021

It wasn’t a message that any neighbor wants to see on the NextDoor app:

“Rattlesnakes Galore. We found FOUR RATTLESNAKES on our property TODAY! My nerves are shot!!! Also saw a bear last week. It’s a jungle out there, neighbors. Please keep a watchful eye out everywhere you step and be really careful with your pets and especially your children. We have had four snake bites to three different pets over the years. They all survived by spending a fortune on antivenom and vets. I recently took my dog to a rattlesnake aversion class and I’m not so sure it worked.”

It got better:

“Another one on my driveway this morning. FIVE in 30 hours. I’m heading to the city for a few days with the dog and the rest of my family are not allowed to go outside.”

It’s the season where the likes of rattlesnakes and other wildlife are out perusing our rarefied enclave, so it’s probably time to freshen up on what can be done to protect domesticated animals from those that ride on the wild side.

Julia Parker, the director of operations at the Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network, and her team have some tips to keep dogs, and wildlife, safe:

•Sign up your dog for a rattlesnake aversion class;

• Keep your dog on a leash;

•If there’s a rattlesnake in your backyard, keep your pets inside and call Animal Control;

•If you encounter a rattlesnake outside (on a trail, etc.), don’t make any sudden movement. Keep calm and slowly and quietly back away from the snake.

•If your dog is bitten by a snake, take it to the vet immediately.

Here are a handful of other tips when it comes to dogs and wildlife:

•Keeping dogs on a leash not only protects your dog from harm, but also keeps wild animals safe. Off-leash dogs are at increased risk of encountering threats like mountain lions or coyotes. In addition, SBWCN receives hundreds of animals each year (cormorants, baby bunnies, etc.) that are caught by dogs.

•Avoid using rat poison. Not only can it poison other animals in the food chain by mistake (like owls and foxes), but it can also poison your own pets.

•Be wary of wood piles and sheds in your backyard; they provide opportunistic shelter, shade, and nesting sites for wildlife (like rattlesnakes).


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