The Sycamore Canyon Wilderness Park is home to many critters, one of which is the Red diamond rattlesnake.  Some visitors become scared, upset, uncertain, or sometimes leave the park when they hear this news.  The Ameal Moore Nature Center recognizes your concerns for safety and would like to provide a few words on snakes in the park.

Snakes are found in many parts of the world and most snakes are not poisonous. The ones that are use their venom for hunting more than protection and are not interested in constant attempts to harm humans.  Rattlesnakes are unique to the Americas, and the ‘rattles’ on their tails may sometimes signal their presence when you are too near.

For FAQs about snakes asked by center visitors, visit our full blog post HERE.

Safety tips to remember:

  • AVOID: If you see a snake, avoid it.  Take two large steps back and give any snakes on trails the right of way.  If you cannot go around it (we urge visitors to stay on the paths for safety and to preserve the park by minimizing the human footprint), turn around and walk away.  Do not attempt to pick a snake up or grab it by the tail! Please remember, these are not pets. If you see a snake off the path that is not rattling at you do not approach it! This does not mean that the snake is dead. Snakes sleep with their eyes ‘open’ and the snake may simply be sleeping. It is also important that you keep your pets on a leash to avoid any unfortunate accidents.
  • LISTEN: You may not always immediately see a rattlesnake- sometimes you will hear it first.  The center urges visitors to listen and pay attention to their surrounds.  It is a good idea to not listen to music loudly when in the park so that you will be able to hear any warning rattles.  But remember, not all rattlesnakes will rattle at you, and not all snakes have rattles, so keep your eyes open for them.
  • WATCH: Watch where you walk and where you put your hands.  Do not stick your hands in any crevasses between rocks or down any holes.  Keep your feet where you can see them, away from tall grass or from under bushes.
  • TEACH: Teach others in your visiting party to be aware of the snakes.  If you have children with you, make sure you keep them close to you and teach them snake safety.  Some visitors think that because they handle their domesticated pet snakes at home that they can also handle the wild ones in the park. Again, these are not pets and it is important to teach those with you that fact.
  • TOGETHER: In case of accident it is always a good idea to hike the trails with a friend.  The nature center is currently closed on weekdays.  If an emergency arises, dial 911.

The Red diamond rattlesnakes in the park are a part of the ecosystem.  Please do not harm any of the snakes in the park. The park exists to protect the animals within it. By following these tips and guidelines you can help us ensure that the park stays open and that you stay safe.

However, accidents can occur. If any snake bites you, please seek medical attention immediately.  Most visitors report good cell reception in the par.  Even the bite of a nonvenomous snake can cause damage (through infection or tissue damage). Here are some steps to take for initial first aid if someone is bitten by a snake from ‘Pest Notes’ by the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources publication 74119:

If you are less than 1 hour from a treatment facility:

  • Call for help
  • Keep the victim calm
  • Wash the bitten area with soap and water gently
  • Put a cold and wet cloth over the bite
  • Get them to a treatment facility

There are many misconceptions about rattlesnake bite treatments. Here are some things that should NOT be done:

  • Do not apply a tourniquet
  • Do not put ice on the bite
  • Do not cut at the bite with sharp objects
  • Do not try to suck out venom with your mouth
  • Do not apply electric shock

Remember during any visit to wear proper attire when going through the park and to bring plenty of water and sun protection with you. By being prepared, you can stay safe and enjoy the park’s beauty.

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