CARLSBAD, Calif. — It’s rattlesnake season, and thanks to all the recent rain, as the temperatures warm up, you can expect to see a lot more of the venomous snakes.
“Snakes are basically shy, scared animals,” said rattlesnake wrangler Bruce Ireland. “Their only goal is to survive. They typically aren’t going to bite a human unless they feel threatened.”
Ireland, who goes by the handle @wrangler_bruce, has garnered quite a large following on social media after his kids convinced him to post some of his more dramatic house calls recovering snakes.
Wrangler Bruce lives in Carlsbad and found his calling almost by accident.
“I am truly passionate about snakes,” he said.
After learning that the only option for residents with a snake encounter is animal control, which are often too busy or the fire department who by policy kill the snakes, he decided to take matters into his own hands. He posted to the neighborhood app Nextdoor and the calls started pouring in.
He now has close to a 100,000 followers on social media and does about 400 calls a year with a team of more than a dozen wranglers. They don’t charge and they don’t kill the snakes, but return them to the wild.
His daughter’s home dance studio doubles as a holding area for recovered snakes. This is safe environment to handle them, he says, but outside in the wild is another story.
“If you have piles of debris, lumber or building supplies or maybe a firewood pile, all that attracts rodents and that’s what the snakes are there for,” Ireland said.
Ireland advises hikers to stay in the middle of a trail and away from the edges where they typically hide to ambush their prey.