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Thursday, May 3, 2012

Fang Factor: Rattlers Get Active as Weather Heats Up

Thursday, May 3, 2012

The “Rattlesnake Xing” signs posted at Santee City Hall are no joke. City Hall workers have learned to be alert and look down when walking outdoors, especially during spring when rattlesnakes emerge from hibernation.

From spring through summer, rattlesnakes occasionally wander down from the boulder-covered hills that surround City Hall in search of prey or a quiet place to sun themselves.

The pregnant female red diamond rattlesnake in this photo was captured May 2 near the Development Services building at City Hall by Nathan Hutcherson of Reptile Removal Services of Lemon Grove. The snake, which was not harmed, was relocated to a more remote area.
Photo by Nathan Edwards

“This was one of the larger ones I’ve seen, and I’ve seen a lot of them,” said Hutcherson, 31, who grew up in Oklahoma and at age 9 was taught by his father how to handle snakes.

When he was hired last year,  Hutcherson conducted four inspections at City Hall and found and removed two red diamond rattlesnakes.

Responding to snake sightings can be challenging, he said, because many times the reptiles are on the move when they encounter humans.

“I’ve spent up to four hours on a call searching,” he said.

Santee residents are advised to call 911 if they find a rattle snake on their property. The Santee Fire Department has staff members who are adept at capturing venomous snakes, and they will remove the reptile.

To learn more about rattlesnake safety, read this website article about the San Diego County Department of Animal Control.

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