“Look before you leap, for snakes among sweet flowers do creep.”
~ German Proverb
Summer is coming. Many days with high temperatures have more than hinted of its impendence. Personally, I am not yet ready for a full-on blast of heat. But the mere thought of a summer evening, without a doubt the best time of year, can erase my sweaty thoughts. With the leaves, pine needles and algae now eradicated from the pool, the sparkling blue water is inviting. Good timing as temperatures hit 103 degrees on Mother’s Day. Hope it was enough to keep Mom out of the kitchen.
Last weekend’s heat also invited our cold-blooded neighbors to journey beyond their winter homes. A friend living in Oakmont Woods casually mentioned seeing two rattle snakes in her yard. Not uncommon as her house is next to the mountains. The biggest was five feet in length – these were no spring babies. Living in the foothills, we will face these reptiles at some point, if not in our backyard then maybe out hiking or picnicking with our families or friends. In our case, a Golden Retriever named Abby would come along for fun.
So, are you prepared for an encounter with a dangerous snake?
California has a variety of snakes. Lucky us, we have three species – Speckled, Diamond-back and Southern Pacific – of the only native and venomous one, the rattlesnake. If not provoked, they provide a tremendous service – rodent control. Because of this, the snake is more of a friend than an enemy. Sometimes friends bite. Back off, but do not un-friend!
Tips for co-existing with “rattled neighbors” (courtesy of CA Dept. of Fish and Game):
1. Wear long pants and hiking boots in wild areas.
2. Stay on trail. Avoid tall grass and heavy brush. Step on rocks and logs, never over them.
3. Do not step or reach where you can’t see.
4. Rattlesnakes swim – a stick or branch floating may not be so.
5. Teach children to respect and leave snakes alone.
6. If bitten, the victim should remain still. Call 911. Note that a snake-bite vaccine is available for dogs and cats.
Weather-wise, we’ll experience a short reprieve from the high temperatures as low clouds, fog and possible drizzle come ashore. Ocean breezes drop temperatures to around 70 degrees by Saturday. Moving into next week, expect a warm-up. Come Tuesday, cooler conditions return.
Such is May …
Sue Kilpatrick is a
Crescenta Valley resident and
Official Skywarn Spotter for the
National Weather Service. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.