LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Southern California is known for its sun, sand, and of course, its snakes.
And thanks to our ongoing drought, rattlesnakes are making their way out of the hills and into our yards in record numbers.
"They're out in full force right now," said Bo Slyapich, who is known as the "rattlesnake wrangler."
He specializes in snake removal, relocation, and prevention.
Slyapich has been working with snakes for more than 50 years and says homeowners are giving the rattlers exactly what they are looking for.
"If you build it. they will come," he said. "Just because you build them a cave, leave the door open, garage door open, put a cement pond in the backyard, make it green all around, maybe throw some mice and rats around. They love us humans."
He suggests building a box around your property, installing one-quarter-inch fencing around the entire perimeter, and reducing landscaping.
He also recommends checking seals, and bringing bushes up off the ground. In essence, eliminating all of the hiding places.
"By taking away shrubbery as much as you can, you take away the rodent, the food source, which eliminates the snakes," he said.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife estimates there are about 800 rattlesnake bites every year, with one or two being fatal.
These bites can also sting your wallet, potentially costing hundreds of thousands of dollars for anti-venom and treatment.
For those who are bitten, Slyapich warns against cutting, biting, and sucking the venom.
"That's Hollywood. We're not on a wagon train six weeks from civilization, OK? 911. Keep it simple, 'I've been bit by a rattlesnake.' "
He also reminds us to "respect the rattler."
"Real simple: rattlesnakes don't want to have anything to do with us, they won't approach us, they will not come after us, they do not fly, leap or jump," he said. "We are bigger. They are smaller. They will protect themselves."
He said if you see a rattlesnake, just back away from it.
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