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Living with Rattlesnakes


Aired 5/18/09

Are rattlesnake in San Diego County becoming more deadly? We'll explore why scientists think they are, and how to prevent becoming a victim of a snake bite.

Maureen Cavanaugh: Rattlesnakes have a bad reputation. In western movies, they are mean and ornery. They'll sneak up on you and bite you whenever they get a chance. And they'll bite your horse, too. Then there's that strange-looking triangular head, the rattling tail and of course, the poison-bite-thing. All of that just gives the snake a bad name, as if 'snake' weren't bad enough already.

The fact is, scientists tell us rattlesnakes are an important part of Southern California's eco-system. They are actually quite shy and are very happy being left alone to eat rodents and not messing with human beings. They are remarkable creatures.

But what do you do if you meet one on a hiking trail or in your backyard?


Dr. Richard Clark, director of the division of medical toxicology at UCSD, and medical director for the California Poison Control System (CPCS) at UCSD Medical Center.

Dr. Brad Hollingsworth, curator of herpetology at the San Diego Natural History Museum, and a professor in the Department of Biology at SDSU.

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Avatar for user 'DeanAllan'

DeanAllan | May 20, 2009 at 4:12 a.m. ― 7 years, 10 months ago


I have been reading this article with interest from Australia and thought I would send you through some information that may be of interest to your readers

I do the bookkeeping for a gentleman in South Australia by the name of Geoff Coombe. Geoff has been presenting Snake Awareness and Snake Handling presentations in Australia and around the world for many years now and his whole focus is on making people aware of why snakes act and react in the way that they do and what we can do to reduce the chance of being bitten by them.

His website is at and he has two blogs, one at geoffcoombeslivingwwithwildlife.blogs... and the other at so I would encourage your readers to have a look at these sites to get a better understanding of these creatures.

Your readers may also be interested to know that Geoff has recently set up an Online Snake Awareness course, where you can learn about snake’s habitats and the ways in which they react to people. A sample of this course can been seen at if your readers would like to look at it.

Geoff truly believes that we can live in harmony with these creatures if we understand the reasons behind why they do what they do. He also believes that we can greatly reduce the chance of being bitten by them simply by knowing how to react if we ever come into contact with them.

I hope your readers find this information of interest.

Kind regards

Dean Allan
MYbookkeeping Services
PO Box 1221
Gawler SA 5118 Australia
Ph. 0404 079 174

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Avatar for user 'RonP'

RonP | June 2, 2009 at 8:15 p.m. ― 7 years, 9 months ago

Far too many people are simply terrorized by any snake, poisonous or not, and react by killing any snake they come upon if possible. We live in the country and deal with several rattlesnakes each year around the property. We also see the beautiful Rosy Boa, banded King Snake, and ordinary gopher snake.
All of these snakes, including the rattlesnake, are useful in keeping the rodent population under some semblance of control.
Rattlesnakes are rarely aggressive unless badly aggravated. Give them some room and they will leave you alone. Don't 'play' with them. They have no sense of 'fun'.

Ron P
Ramona CA

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Avatar for user 'ReptileRemover'

ReptileRemover | March 12, 2011 at 12:05 a.m. ― 6 years ago

For any home owners or business owners in Southern California that are experiencing problems with rattlesnakes or any other reptiles that are causing alarm, please consider our services. Our professional willife control experts will remove the unwanted reptile safely and we never harm the animals involved. We also perform thorough property inspections and make recommendations and alterations to keep unwanted pests from your home or business.
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