Stephen Ellison

With the Heat Come Rattlesnakes in Some Bay Area Locales

As the weather heats up, one of the many problems that comes with it is a spike in rattlesnakes, especially in the North Bay and East Bay.

Already, pest control companies have said they are getting a lot more calls this year from residents who are finding rattlesnakes in their homes.

One resident in Benicia said she found three on her doorstep.

Lou Fraser of Rattlesnake Removal USA has been doing snake removal for several years. So getting a call to pick up three snakes coiled up in front of a Benicia home was no big deal.

"So we got a few snakes here," Fraser said. "Which is fairly common this time of year. These snakes know they have power. They know they control the situation. You can see just how confident this snake is. It knows what it can do."

After cleaning up the front, Fraser uses his dog to scope out the house for other possible snakes, looking for signs such as feces, a skin shed and skeletons.

He believes the Benicia homeowner has a rodent problem, which draws out rattlesnakes. As does her unkempt yard.

"Unfortunately, that combination is where a bit can happen," Fraser said.

Once they're on the property, it’s often only a matter of time before the snakes look for cooler temperatures inside people’s homes.

"If a snake cannot find cool weather, it will die from overheating," Fraser said. "So that is when we get a lot of snakes going into people's homes. They go right through the front door; the garage is probably the most popular."

Neighbor Elisabeth Gulick doesn’t feel threatened by the snake problem. If anything, she says its a reminder to clean up her yard.

"Probably have to be more aware," she said. "I have a lot of ivy on the side yard."

Anyone who is bitten by a rattlesnake is advised to seek immediate medical attention. Rarely is a bite fatal, but it can take several weeks to heal.

As for the snakes that are captured, they are released back into the wild or donated for scientific research.

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