Friends of Blue Sky

Species of Rattlesnake found in Blue Sky

red diamond rattlesnakeRattlesnakes are fully protected in Blue Sky Ecological Reserve

Rattlesnakes are beneficial because they keep down the population of mice and rats. Some of these mammals harbor disease and destroy crops.

southern pacific rattlesnakeSouthern Pacific Rattlesnake
(Crotalus viridis helleri)
Found virtually everywhere. Length 6 inches – 5 feet. Greenish-brown to black snake has brown to black blotches down its back. The blotches generally have lighter edges. (photo at right)

Red Diamond Rattlesnake (Crotalus ruber ruber)
Reddish-brown snake with the outline of cream-colored diamonds down its back. Usually prefers areas of brush and scattered rock (chaparral). Length 9 inches to 5.5 feet. (shown at left)

Southwestern Speckled Rattlesnake (Crotalus mitchelli pyrrhus)
Coloring looks like decomposed granite: from cream or tan to sometimes pink or yellowish, and usually with indistinct bands of salt-and-pepper speckling. Found in rocky areas. (see photos at left)

All snakes in San Diego are having a hard time surviving as we take away the habitat in which they live to build houses and roads. If you encounter a rattlesnake while hiking in Blue Sky, consider yourself lucky. Rattlesnakes can be active year round in San Diego County.

Staying Safe in Rattlesnake Country
The rules are simple. Remember, all snakes are harmless from a distance.

  • Learn to behave in a way that does not frighten snakes. Always watch where you put your hands and feet. Never reach under rocks or logs. If there is a fallen log on the trail always step on the log and look over the other side. Step way out and over as a snake may be lying on the other side.

  • If you are playing in areas where you think there might be rattlesnakes, wear long pants, long sleeves and shoes. Don’t play in bare feet or flip-flops.

  • Keep your eyes and ears open wide. Try to walk, not run, so that you don’t surprise a snake. If you do come upon a snake, take two giant steps backwards. Enjoy watching it from a safe distance, then give it a very wide berth and move on.

  • Never tease a snake, or try to corner one.

Rattlesnakes will strike only in self-defense. They are quite shy and do not come after people. All any snake wants to do is to eat to survive and reproduce.

Don’t touch even a dead rattlesnake. Do not play with, tease or try to capture rattlesnakes.

Using common sense, we can share our open spaces with rattlesnakes.

What to do if bitten

  • Move away from the snake.

  • Stay calm and do not panic.

  • Call 911 or get to the nearest hospital immediately.

  • Remove any rings, bracelets, and wrist watch, if bitten on the hand or arm. Remove shoes and any toe rings, or ankle bracelets, if bitten on the leg or foot.

  • Keep bitten area extremity still, and below the level of the heart.

  • If soap and water are available, wash the skin over the bite.

What not to do if bitten

  • Do not apply a tourniquet.

  • Do not apply ice to the wound.

  • Do not attempt to cut the wound or suck out the venom.

  • Do not take any medication.

Rattlesnakes and Dogs

Dogs are naturally curious and often this curiosity brings them into harm's way. Please keep your dog on a leash (of not more than 6’) and away from the brush at the sides of the trail. Keep a look out for any rattlesnakes which may be crossing the trail.