Watch your step: Rattlesnake season is here

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As the weather warms for the start of spring, be careful of what's underfoot.

SAN DIEGO — San Diego County often warns residents that April marks the start of “prime rattlesnake season,” with the highest number of rattler sightings in years past.

“We always say that every season is rattlesnake season because of the moderate climate in San Diego County,” County Animal Services Director Daniel DeSousa explains. “But when the temperatures start rising in the spring, so do rattlesnake sightings, and calls come in from the coast to the mountains.”

The snakes are most likely out searching for food or simply soaking up the sun. They won’t chase you — they really don’t want anything to do with humans, park rangers say — so if you stay vigilant and steer clear, there’s no reason you can’t enjoy your favorite outdoor activities at the same time as the scaly critters.

When you hit the hiking trails, the county recommends sturdy hiking boots with ankle support to protect your feet. Officials also say you should stay on paths and trails, avoiding tall grass, weeds and brush where snakes might hike. You should also always keep your dog on a leash and keep your beloved animal close.

If residents find a rattlesnake on their property, officials recommend watching it from a safe distance and calling County Animal Services. Animal control officers can safely capture the snake and take it to an area where it won’t pose a threat to the public.

If bitten, the county says you should call 911 and remove any constricting clothing or accessories like rings or watchbands.

The county has a full set of rattlesnake season tips on their website.

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