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Be on the lookout now that it's rattlesnake season - KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News

Be on the lookout now that it's rattlesnake season

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A warning to tell you about venomous snakes.

They are emerging from their winter hibernation so you can expect to see them now through October.

"I did see a snake pop its head about ready to cross the trail. I was maybe 10 feet away," said hiker, Adan Pulido.

Whether you're hiking or in your backyard, don't be surprised to see these reptiles slithering about.

The Department of Fish & Wildlife says the Northern Pacific Rattlesnake is native to our region. They can be brown or green in color with a broad shaped head.

"It typically likes more rocky habitat but anywhere there's much rodent supply especially smaller rodents, you may find rattlesnakes," said Patrol Lt. Todd Tognazzini.  

This year, we can expect to see a lot more rodents thanks to the rain. As far as increasing the snake population-- 

"It probably wouldn't happen immediately but probably by next year we'll see more rattlesnakes and more snakes in general," he said.

Twin Cities Hospital says it treated seven snake bites in 2016... but none this year so far. Pets Hospital in Orcutt has already treated its first snake bite. 

"Most of the cases that we see with rattlesnake bites are dogs that are off leash, on hikes and biking trails," said Veterinarian, Krista Hooper.

Department of Fish & Wildlife says pets are bitten more often than humans. If your dog gets bitten, the best thing to do is bring it to the vet immediately.

"When they bite they either have no venom or they have almost all of it," continued Hooper.

If you get a bite with no venom--- it's usually just pain... and this is true for 20 to 25-percent of cases pets hospital sees. 

If there is venom-- it can be life threatening.

It can cost you in between $800 to $1,000 for an antivenin shot for your pet. For human treatment, it's much more at about $30,000 per vial.

If you do happen to kill a rattlesnake in your yard, it's not illegal-- but do keep in mind that it could have live babies inside of it.

A gopher snake often mimics the rattlesnake by shaking its tail so keep that in mind too.

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