LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 21: A venomous southern Pacific rattlesnake tastes the air in Santa Ynez Canyon in Topanga State Park on May 21, 2008 in Los Angeles, California. California's entire state park system, the largest park system in the US, was included in the National Trust for Historic Preservation "11 Most Endangered Historic Places" of 2008. Although California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger recently backed off from his threat to close 48 state parks - almost 20 percent - to save money for the $10 billion-plus state budget deficit. The wilderness park is considered the world's largest wildland within the boundaries of a major city. Other American locations on the Endangered list include Manhattan's Lower East Side, the historic Art Deco icon Charity Hospital in New Orleans and the adjacent neighborhood, a modernist hotel in Dallas, and an Art Deco movie theater in Philadelphia. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
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SAN RAFAEL, Calif. —
A woman was bitten by a rattlesnake in Marin County last week, prompting wildlife and health officials to remind Bay Area residents about snake safety as the weather warms up.
Medical personnel from the Ross Valley Fire Department responded to a person who was bit by a snake off of Iron Springs Road near Fairfax.
Fire spokeswoman JoAnne Lewis said the victim, who was bit at the end of the week, was taken to the hospital.
A spokeswoman at the San Rafael-based WildCare wildlife organization said the person bit by a young snake was a woman hiking in the area during the heat wave at the end of the week.
Alison Hermance said young snakes are more of a risk to humans because they have less impulse control.
Although the cold-blooded reptiles come out to warm up in the heat, Hermance assured that "snakes don't actually want to strike you."
She said that they have a limited amount of venom they don't want to waste.
Despite rattlesnake fears, Hermance said in 2012 only two snakes were dropped off at the center after being found in gardens or near homes.
She noted that the rattlers "give you a solid warning" and the snake will make some fake lunges before actually biting and releasing their poison.
Hermance said anyone who does encounter a snake is advised to back away slowly. Those hiking or walking should wear boots above the ankle. Pets should be on a leash.
Santa Clara County fire and emergency services officials are reminding residents spending more time outside to "watch where you walk."
Santa Clara County officials said snakes are often found in high brush, under logs, fallen trees, on rocks and dirt trails.
Officials said nationwide only one out of 500 bites result in serious injury.
In Santa Clara County 15 people were bitten in 2012. All were successfully treated and released after receiving medical attention.
For those that are bit, there's an anti-venom serum that effectively reduces the risk of injury or death from a bite.
Officials urged resident to never touch or try to catch the snakes.
Hermance said despite widespread worry of rattlesnakes, the creatures are crucial in keeping mice, rats and other rodent populations in check.
"They are a really important component for keeping rodent levels down," she said.
Any injured or captured snakes can be dropped at the WildCare center, she said.
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