SoCal Warned to Look Out for Rattlesnakes - NBC 7 San Diego

SoCal Warned to Look Out for Rattlesnakes

The Southern Pacific rattlesnake is highly toxic and potentially lethal



    SoCal Warned to Look Out for Rattlesnakes
    SoCal residents are urged to look out for rattlesnakes after an Inland Empire man was seriously hurt by a snake bite on Monday, March 24, 2014.

    Southern Californians are being warned to look out for rattlesnakes after a man was seriously hurt from a snake bite.

    One particular type of rattlesnake that is native to California and has highly toxic venom is causing concern for Inland Empire residents: the Southern Pacific rattlesnake.

    Its venom is so toxic, it requires more antivenin than other types of rattlesnakes and packs a potentially lethal punch.

    "Personally, I consider it the most dangerous rattlesnake we have here in Southern California," snake expert Joel Almquist told NBC4.

    The Southern Pacific rattlesnake is the same type and about the same size of the rattlesnake that bit a man on Monday as he was working around a woodpile in Cajon Valley.

    "He reached into the woodpile and he felt a burning sensation to his left arm," San Bernardino Fire Capt. Jay Hausman said.

    Paramedics rushed the victim, a man in his 30s, to a hospital where he underwent emergency treatment to prevent severe tissue damage and death.

    "(The venom) is basically attacking the whole circulatory system and the tissues of the skin of the body," Hausman said.

    While the Southern Pacific rattlesnake is already common in Southern California, the warm winter means they're even more likely to turn up looking for food and hiding in places where people often put their hands.

    "I always tell people up here, (make) firewood piles," Almquist said. "You always want those 12 to 16 inches above the ground. It doesn't give a place for the snakes to hide."

    If a rattlesnake bites, panicking will only increase blood flow and spread the venom, he said.

    "And it's hard to tell a person who's been bitten by a rattlesnake to relax," Almquist said. "But you want to try to stay as relaxed as possible, and get medical attention as quick as possible."

    The man who was bitten Monday is expected to make a full recovery, officials said.