WALNUT CREEK, Calif. (KTVU) - KTVU employee Jay Martinez spotted a two-foot long rattlesnake on his daily walk with his dog Vaya Thursday evening.
Martinez, a decades-long Walnut Creek resident, says rattlesnakes in the area are not uncommon but this was the first time he encountered one in the middle of a sidewalk.
In this case, Martinez and Vaya came across the snake on a sidewalk along Rock Oak Road in the residential area of the Woodlands neighborhood.
Martinez jumped and stopped in his tracks as he told Vaya to "stay." The pair walked around the snake, and headed on their way to the Lime Ridge Open Area.
"Vaya knows the word 'snake.' She can tell I'm on the alert," says Martinez as he scans their path for potential threats.
Snakes tend to be out when the weather is warm. Martinez says seeing a rattlesnake is almost a daily occurrence on their routine walks in April and May. "If it's warm enough to wear a t-shirt that's when the snakes are out. During snake season Vaya knows to stay on the trail thanks to plenty of treats and commands," says Martinez.
The sightings taper off as the temperature drops in the winter. That's when some rattlesnakes go into a period of brumation in rattlesnake dens, which is similar to hibernating.
Contra Costa County says residents should call Contra Costa Animal Services if they find a snake on their property. The snake will be relocated to an area where it doesn't pose a risk.
The county warns hikers to wear sturdy boots and loose-fitting long pants and to never hike alone. View a list of tips to avoid rattlesnakes here.
If bitten by a rattlesnake the county provides the following guidelines
What to do in the event of a snake bite
- Stay calm but act quickly.
- Remove watches, rings, etc., which may constrict swelling.
- Transport the victim to the nearest medical facility.
- For more first aid information, call California Poison Control System at (800) 222-1222.
What you should NOT do after a rattlesnake bite
- Don't apply a tourniquet.
- Don't pack the bite area in ice.
- Don't cut the wound with a knife or razor.
- Don't use your mouth to suck out the venom.
- Don't let the victim drink alcohol.
Martinez notes he sees just as many rattlesnakes in residential areas as he does in the open spaces. He adds it's not all bad - rattlesnakes help keep down the rodent population.