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Living with Rattlesnakes


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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