Hikers warned after rattlesnake bites woman at Torrey Pines

SAN DIEGO -- It is rattlesnake mating season, and that along with the heat is causing more people to have run-ins with the rattlesnakes, wildlife experts say.

Sunday afternoon shortly after 1 p.m.  a 33-year-old woman was bitten along trail through Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve to the beach at Flat Rock. She was hoisted off the trail by a San Diego Fire-Rescue Department helicopter and flown to a nearby hospital. As of Monday afternoon, her condition was still unknown.

Craig James told FOX 5 he walks the trails at Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve about two or three times a week, and he was not too surprised when he heard a woman was bitten by a rattlesnake.

“Every few months, I’ll see a rattlesnake. Usually they’re smaller ones. A month or two ago I saw a fairly large one. They’re common here,” James said. 

Though we don't hear about rattlesnake bites often near the beach, wildlife specialist Tyler Duncan said it is not uncommon to find them along coastal areas. He said that he has received a number of rattlesnake calls in the Torrey Pines area this summer. In general, he said summer is a very busy time of year when it comes to snakes.

“Last year I got probably a little over 1,200 calls in maybe four months for snakes, and this year we’re probably right at about 1,000, and we got still about another month and half strong of having snake population. It is also mating season. It’s getting late in the season for most animals, but keep in mind when animals are mating they are now going to be more aggressive,” Duncan said. 

Duncan said that in a setting, such as a nature reserve, we are in the snakes' backyard, so we should be keeping an eye out for them.

“When it comes to staying safe, when you’re walking on trails and stuff, you definitely don’t want to veer off the trails and don’t get curious. I always say when it comes to rattlesnakes, it really takes curiosity for them to strike. You almost have to step on them really,” Duncan said. 

Duncan suggests while hiking to carry  a walking stick and to wear pants and boots. If you are bitten call 911 immediately