Southern California environment news and trends

Rattlesnake bites on the rise across California

northern pacific rattlesnake

Photo by Natalie McNear via Flickr Creative Commons

It was just this past May when we were reporting that California’s rattlesnake season started early this year, with a good chance of larger population numbers. Now we’re learning that there has been a steep increase of rattlesnake bites across the state over the spring, up almost 50 percent from the same time last year.

According to the Marin Independent Journal, 184 rattlesnake bites were reported to the state Poison Control System between April and June of this year, compared to 124 in the spring of 2011. On average, there are about 300 rattlesnake bites reported to California Poison Control annually.

Just last week in Mission Viejo, a 6-year-old boy suffered an especially toxic bite from a Mojave Green rattlesnake near Camp Pendleton, and is still recovering.

“Rattlesnakes are more like us than we think,” said Katie Colbert of the East Bay Regional Park District to the Independent Journal. “They like to go out in good weather. They get grumpy in hot weather. They want food, shelter, family and to avoid predators, but they will strike out if they feel threatened.”

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California man survives mountain lion attack

CaliforniaDFG/ Flickr (cc by-nc-nd)

A California mountain lion.

Sometimes it can be easy to forget just how tenuous the line between civilization and nature can be here in California. That line was all but erased for a 63-year-old Marin County man camping in the Sierra Nevada foothills over the weekend when he was attacked by a mountain lion.

According to the San Francisco Examiner, the man was in a sleeping bag near the Yuba River when the animal attacked.

"He felt a paw on the side of his head. It woke him out of a deep sleep,” said Patrick Foy, a spokesman for the California Department of Fish and Game to the Examiner. “He was startled, and that initiated the ferocious attack.” The man suffered bites and claw marks on his head, hand, arm and back. After somewhere between a minute and a minute and a half, the animal moved about fifteen feet away and stared at the man before running off into the darkness. The man, who has requested anonymity for now, was able to drive himself to a nearby hospital, where he was treated for his injuries and later released.

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