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Inland Empire rattlesnake sightings rising

May 5, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Summer's coming, the weather's warming up, and the rattlesnakes are back. The snakes are dangerous; their venom can be deadly. Riverside County residents have already spotted rattlers, and they were too close for comfort.

Rattlesnake sightings in the Inland Empire are on the rise. Not only can these snakes cover ground quickly, but their venom is extremely poisonous. And when they strike, it can often be too late.

"You just have to be careful and keep your eyes open," said Cherry Valley resident Tori Beck.

Beck says she's seen rattlers starting to slither much closer to her home than she would like.

"Just working around the yard, and there was two of them, one was yesterday, and one was the day before yesterday," said Beck.

Riverside County Animal Services says they've fielded a number of calls about rattlesnakes over the past week, mostly because it's getting hot outside.

"In the summer months, when it's warmer, spring, summer, even into fall, when it's warmer, that's when they're the most active," said Riverside County Animal Services Officer Kim McWhorter.

If you come across a snake, the best thing to do is back away slowly, with no sudden movements.

"Your typically rattlesnake can't strike any farther than about half its body length, so as long as you're several feet away from it, you're going to be outside any kind of danger zone," said McWhorter.

Because their venom contains toxins that can destroy organs inside the body, rattlesnakes can be deadly. Experts say it's something to keep in mind the next time you're out for a walk.