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Western Rattlesnake{Crotalus viridis}

The only venomous snake native to California, rattlers are common in the dry areas of our foothill communities. Residents living near the hills should be careful to check for these venomous snakes in their yards.

Rattlers are usually beige with diamond-shaped brown patches on their back. To distinguish a rattler from a gopher snake, look for the characteristic broad, triangular head, plump body shape and the rattle at the end of its tail.

Rattlesnake season* is typically April through October when they can be found sunning themselves during the day. In the winter months these snakes hibernate in colonies. They use their rattles to warn large creatures that they are in the area.

- Get rid of areas where rodents live and the snakes will more than likely move on to greener pastures.

- Keep all trash in garbage cans with a tight lid

- Remove grass cuttings, weeds and other types of green waste where rats and other rodents may want to next.

- Seal openings in or under buildings. Cover ventilators close to the ground with a inch wire mesh.

- Fill in gopher and squirrel holes with stones and dirt. Snakes use these as passageways.

- Trim shrubs from the ground up several inches to provide ground clearance.

- Remove piles of rocks or other items in which snakes may hide and rodents may nest.

- The best protection against rattlesnakes in the yard is a rattlesnake proof fence. However, it can be expensive and requires maintenance. The fence should either be solid or wire mesh with holes no larger than inch. It should be at least 3 feet high with the bottom buried a few inches in the ground. Slanting your snake fence outward about 30-degree angle will help. Vegetation should be kept away from the fence since the snake could crawl to the top of an adjacent tree or shrub. Discourage snakes by removing piles of boards or rocks around the home. Use caution when removing those piles- there may already be a snake there. Encouraging and protecting natural competitors like gopher snakes, king snakes will reduce the rattlesnake population in the immediate area.

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