Rattlesnake advisory for East Bay parks over holiday weekend

The holiday weekend warmup has prompted the East Bay Regional Park District to issue a rattlesnake advisory.  

"With summer heat warming up the region this week, snakes may become more visible along some East Bay Regional Park trails," wrote the Park District in its advisory. "Snakes, notably rattlesnakes, typically emerge in warm weather to explore their environment, which can lead to more encounters with humans and dogs."

The Park District, which covers Alameda and Contra Costa Counties, is advising people to avoid hiking alone in case of an emergency and to scan the ground ahead on area trails. 

Visitors are encouraged to stay on trails and to look carefully under logs and rocks before sitting down. Pet owners are advised to keep their dogs on a leash.

"I’m a little nervous. A lot nervous," said Deja Williams on a hike Saturday with her boyfriend in Mount Diablo State Park in Walnut Creek. "We just came from another area where I saw a sign that had rattlesnakes, and I chickened out."

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Area snake removal companies say the warm weather is keeping them busy.  

"We’re getting dozens of calls every day," said Luis Fraser, who owns Snake Removal.

He's advising hikers not to panic if they spot a snake. 

"When you see it, just walk around it. Enjoy it from a distance and just walk around it," said Fraser.

Fraser also noted that rattlesnakes in this region are far less venomous than in other parts of the country.

"This species of rattlesnake is not the most deadly type of rattlesnake that we have in the U.S. You have an excellent chance of recovering from a rattlesnake bite out here. They are venomous, they will hurt, they will do damage, but the most important thing you can remember is that they are not deadly," said Fraser. "But you need to get to a hospital. Time is the critical factor."