Warm weather increases the likelihood of interactions between rattlesnakes and hikers or dogs, and the East Bay Regional Park District is warning outdoor enthusiasts to be careful as summer approaches.
People visiting the parks are advised to bring a friend so they can help each other in case of emergency. People are urged to watch the ground nearby before walking or sitting down and never put hands or feet in any place that can't be easily seen.
Anybody using a public barbecue, picnic table or campsite is urged to check for snakes first and notify park staff if any are found.
In the event of a rattlesnake bite, call 911 immediately. If alone and unable to make a phone call, walk slowly to the nearest area where someone can help make the call.
Lie down to help stay calm, and avoid elevating the affected limb.
Keep it below the heart. Sucking out the venom or using a tourniquet to keep it from circulating in the body is not recommended.
Rattlesnake bites are typically associated with two puncture wounds and intense burning pain. Other snakebites can be treated with soap and water, but patients should still seek medical assistance as soon as possible.
Officials say the snakes play an important ecological role in controlling pest populations and it's illegal to kill, collect or remove them.