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Animal Services wrangles big backyard rattler

Tracy DeFore

County of San Diego

Communications Office

It’s spring and it seems everyone is enjoying the sunshine, even snakes. A Rancho Peñasquitos couple found a red diamond rattler in their backyard recently and called County Animal Services for help.

Animal Control Officer Joni Palumbo responded to the call. She’s handled snake calls before but never with a snake this large.

The snake was estimated to be about four feet long. Palumbo took the rattler away from the home and returned it to the wild in a canyon nearby.

Since January, County Animal Services has responded to 276 rattlesnake calls. That is about 50 more than the same time period last year. Last May was the high point with 156 calls but they can come in anytime.

“Snake sightings jump during warmer weather but thanks to San Diego’s moderate climate, we can receive calls any time of year,” said County Animal Services Director Dan DeSousa. “Basically every season is rattlesnake season and they can show up anywhere from the coast to the deserts.”

If you see a rattlesnake on your property, keep a safe distance and call County Animal Services at (619) 236-2341. You can also visit for more rattlesnake information.


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