Rattlesnakes are very common in the Los Vaqueros Watershed. A rattlesnake is distinguished by a triangular-shaped head that is noticeably larger than its neck, a dull body and a blunt tail with 1 or more rattles. It is very likely that you would hear a rattler before you see it. When a rattlesnake feels threatened, it will shake the rattles on its tail as a warning before it strikes. It is important to listen for this fast rattling sound (almost a hissing sound) when you are hiking or engaging in other activities in the watershed.
Tips to avoid encounters with rattlesnakes:
Watch the ground ahead of you.
Keep a close eye on your children.
Look carefully around logs and rocks before sitting down.
Avoid placing hands and feet where you can’t see clearly.
Avoid climbing or scrambling over rocks and boulders.
Scan the area around picnic tables before using them.
If you see a snake, give it plenty of room and leave it alone.
If you hear or see a rattlesnake:
Stop what you are doing and remain still.
Visually locate the snake and slowly back away from it.
Maintain a safe distance from the snake.
Do not attempt to hassle, relocate or handle the snake
If you are bitten by a rattlesnake:
Stay calm. Rattlesnake bites are rarely fatal.
Call 911 and get immediate medical assistance. There are emergency call boxes on some trails, see our Trails Map (PDF) for locations.