Watch two rattlesnakes fight it out on a trail in northern California
A 79-year-old man hiking on Mt. Tamalpais in the Bay Area had to be airlifted to a hospital Sunday after suffering several rattlesnake bites.
The Marin County Fire Department arrived at 2:15 p.m. Sunday to assist the hiker, who was flown to a Walnut Creek hospital by a California Highway Patrol helicopter, the CHP says. The man was reported to be in stable condition.
Across the San Francisco Bay, hikers on Mission Peak in Fremont also were on the lookout for rattlesnakes, which are becoming more active with the arrival of warmer weather, reported KPIX.
“They slither across the trail, but sometimes you hear them just on the side,” veteran hiker Kim Baggy told the station. “I always worry about the little kids that are on the trail on their bikes because they’re riding along. They’re not going to stop in time.”
Rattlesnakes are shy and will gladly retreat if given enough room, experts say. But their bites can be extremely dangerous and require immediate attention.
More than 300 people are bitten by rattlesnakes each year, resulting in an average of one death a year in California, according to the California Poison Control System.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife offers these tips for avoiding rattlesnakes:
- Stay alert. After a cool night, rattlesnakes will try to warm up by basking in the sun. A startled rattlesnake may not rattle before striking.
- Wear sturdy boots and loose-fitting pants. Never go barefoot or wear sandals when walking through brushy, wild areas.
- Stick to well-used trails. Avoid tall grass, weeds and heavy underbrush where snakes may hide during warmer parts of the day.
- Don’t put your hands or feet where you can’t see.
- Never grab “sticks” or “branches” while swimming. Rattlesnakes can swim.
- Never hike alone.
- Leash your dog when hiking. Talk to your veterinarian about canine rattlesnake vaccines and what to do if your pet is bitten.