Riverside prepares for snake season

RIVERSIDE It is a fact, a snake in the grass poisonous or not usually will try to slither away from humans. Yet every year Southern Californians suffer painful snake bites.

"This is one of the most significant snakes that causes the highest number of snake bites in Southern California. This is a Southern Pacific rattlesnake," said snake expert, Roy Malleappah.

There are six different species of rattlesnakes and they are all poisonous.

"The last couple of bites that you have talked about have been from the Southern Pacific. In fact we have a smaller Southern Pacific that most of the people have been bitten by - - like the 3-year-old girl from Lake Arrowhead and a guy from Irwindale," said snake expert, Joe Banashek.

Riverside Animal County Control receives 25 to 30 calls a day about snakes.

Snake experts worked with animal control officers Wednesday to help them distinguish the dangerous from the non-poisonous.

The emphasis was on capturing the snakes and relocating them.

"We need these snakes in order to create an effective anti-venom. So we can live with them in harmony, keep them out of our areas and educate people on what to expect and what not to expect during rattlesnake season," said Malleappah.

Due to over development snake habitats have been removed. Interaction between humans and snakes has become more frequent. Killing all snakes is not a solution.

The anti-venom available is effective, but it is very expensive.

"As of last year at Loma Linda the administered cost was $2,750 per vile. It is usually four to six to start, plus maintenance and you get a lot more depending on the severity of the bite," said Banashek.


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