Tips: What Should You Do If You Encounter a Rattlesnake?

Tips: What Should You Do If You Encounter a Rattlesnake?

Kitty Alvarado

“As soon as it starts getting warm, you’re definitely going to watch out for them and they’re going to be coming out,” says Kim McWhorter,  Program Chief at the Riverside County Department of Animal Services and a venomous animal expert.

She says rattlesnakes are out of hibernation, “They’re definitely going to be starting to hunt for food you know it’s the spring of course breeding season.” 

McWhorter says you will see them where there’s water sources and food, like mice, “Especially if you an area like out here in the Coachella Valley where we know there’s rattlesnakes out here the best thing around your home just make sure you keep it clear of brush and debris, wood piles … Anything that attracts rodents, rodents attracts the snakes.”

Our hiking trails are their natural habitat, she says, so advises people not to hike alone, stay on the trails, watch where you’re stepping and reaching, because snakes do blend in with their surroundings and, “Wear the appropriate clothing, long pants can help you a lot better to deflect a snake bite than if you’re wearing shorts and sandals,wearing some good hiking boots, you know these are things that can actually prevent you from getting bitten by a snake.”

But she says the number one way to avoid getting bitten is let snakes be, “I’ve done a lot of research on snake bit and venomous snakes and dealing with venomous snakes and I can definitely say that generally more people get bitten when they’re trying to do something like kill a snake or mess with a snake rather than just leaving it alone.”


If you get bitten:

Call 911 immediately.

Stay calm.

Do not:

Apply tourniquet, ice, band, cut.

Try to suck out the venom out.

Do remove all constrictive clothing and jewelry.

Hold wound lower than your heart.


McWhorter says, “I mean there are all kinds of things that people do … get to the hospital because time is everything when it comes to snakebite.”

Some of those home remedies may lead to amputation. Also if you see a rattlesnake around your home call animal control they will come out and release it back to the wild. They say we do need these snakes to control the rodent population so killing them will only cause us more harm.”