With the end of the winter season, snakes are becoming increasingly active on trails and open spaces on the Landmarks, so it’s important to understand how to coexist with these reptiles while still enjoying your time outdoors.
The best way to avoid a negative snake encounter is by staying on designated trails and to never step, climb or reach into an area that you can’t see, as snakes usually stay hidden in logs, bushes and rock piles. Be sure to scan ahead while on trails, as snakes like to sunbathe to regulate body temperature. In the event you come across a snake sunning on a trail, stop and allow the snake time to move.
If adventuring with children, educate them on best practices when encountering a snake and the importance of protecting wildlife. Although most people have developed a fear of snakes, taking precautions and being aware while outdoors will reduce the chance of startling a snake. Keep an eye on children while exploring to be sure they don’t venture off into brush, play in sticks or rock piles, or reach their hands into holes.
When out on the Landmarks, it’s also important to monitor for our furry friends. Even though dogs are not permitted on all trails found throughout the Landmarks, areas like the City of Irvine’s Quail Hill trailhead and OC Parks’ Irvine Regional Park and Peters Canyon offer dog-friendly trails. Dogs are required to be on leashes in these areas, so do not allow them to wander off leash, as they can get into a potential snake hiding spot. Also, do not leave your dog unattended and watch them closely while they are sniffing along trails.
There is no need to report a snake while out on trails, but you can let your fellow hikers know to keep an eye out if they are heading towards an area where you recently encountered a snake. If you see a snake in a high traffic area like urban areas, parks, or at trailheads, you should report it to the local park rangers, open space patrol officers or park staff.
Whether you are on or off the Landmarks, be sure to give snakes the respect they deserve and remember if you leave them alone, they will leave you alone. For more information about wildlife on the Landmarks, visit IRConservancy.org or follow the Landmarks on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.