How to not get rat­tled in SCV

With sum­mer heat upon the val­ley, ex­perts share rat­tlesnake safety tips for fam­i­lies and their pets

The Signal - - NEWS - By Crys­tal Duan Sig­nal Staff Writer cd­uan@sig­nalscv.com

With the sum­mer weather ar­riv­ing, Santa Clarita Val­ley res­i­dents are in­creas­ingly see­ing snakes pop­ping back up in back­yards, open spa­ces and parks.

In the last 10 days alone, Fire Sta­tion 132 in Canyon Coun­try re­ceived eight snake-re­lated calls and an­tic­i­pate more as tem­per­a­tures con­tinue to stay high, said Fire Capt. Mike Shep­ard.

“It’s re­ally hot, and the snakes don’t have a way to reg­u­late their tem­per­a­ture, so when it’s warm they try to get cool,” he said. “They’ll come down to rest in peo­ple’s grass, in the brush, in the pool be­cause they get thirsty.”

Many houses are up against un­de­vel­oped ar­eas, so snakes can eas­ily slither down.

When face to face with a snake in their vicini­ties, res­i­dents can take cer­tain safety pre­cau­tions to pro­tect them­selves and their pets.

Pre­ven­tion

Snakes gen­er­ally want to stay away from hu­mans, but if res­i­dents en­counter a snake near their home or in their back­yard, they’re en­cour­aged to call Los An­ge­les County An­i­mal Care and Con­trol or the Santa Clarita Val­ley Sher­iff’s Sta­tion and stay as far away as pos­si­ble.

Go­pher snakes are harm­less and good for prop­er­ties be­cause they keep rat­tlesnakes away, Shep­ard said.

In ad­di­tion to the in­fa­mous rat­tle, poi­sonous rat­tlesnakes have tri­an­gu­lar heads, ac­cord­ing to the Cal­i­for­nia De­part­ment of Fish and Wildlife.

Res­i­dents should keep pet foods and house­hold garbage in­side to keep snakes away, as leav­ing them out­doors may at­tract ro­dents that snakes are in­ter­ested in eat­ing, said Don Bel­ton, spokes­woman for L.A. County An­i­mal Care and Con­trol.

Re­mov­ing po­ten­tial hid­ing places for snakes or their prey is also a good idea, Bel­ton said. Th­ese in­clude piles of rocks, wood or other de­bris; tall grass and un­der­growth; cracks around con­crete porches and side­walks; and stor­age sheds with space un­der the floor.

Res­i­dents can also in­stall rat­tlesnake fenc­ing in their yards, ac­cord­ing to the Cal­i­for­nia De­part­ment of Fish and Wildlife.

Fences should be solid or with mesh no larger than one-quar­ter inch and 3 feet high with the bot­tom a few inches in the ground.

Rat­tlesnake Train­ing

Rat­tlesnake avoid­ance train­ing ses­sions for dogs are held pe­ri­od­i­cally in Santa Clarita, such as one in April hosted by Ma & Paw Ken­nel in Cas­taic. Through this train­ing, dogs can learn to rec­og­nize snakes through sight, sound and scent, said Gina Gables, a dog trainer and owner at the ken­nel.

In Ac­ton, 2nd Home Dog Board­ing pro­vides a venue for classes through its part­ner­ship with Nat­u­ral So­lu­tions, a na­tion­wide rat­tlesnake aver­sion train­ing re­source that uses real muz­zled rat­tlesnakes. Their most re­cent ses­sion was ear­lier this month.

For more in­for­ma­tion about the train­ing ses­sions, or to sign up for fu­ture train­ing, visit Ma and Pa Ken­nels’ web­site or 2nd Home Dog Board­ing’s Face­book page.

Sky­lar Barti/The Sig­nal

An ar­ti­fi­cial snake used to train dogs about rat­tlesnake avoid­ance sits on dis­play dur­ing a re­cent class to help teach pet own­ers, as well as their pets, about safety.

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