Beware: the snakes are out in Murrieta.
Snake season typically begins when the weather starts to warm up, according to Murrieta fire Chief Matt Shobert. He said the department has already begun getting calls from homeowners who have been paid visits by the reptiles.
"We have relocated about six rattlesnakes so far this season," Shobert told Patch Friday. "We have the tools, that is one of the services we are happy to provide."
Calls the Fire Department has responded to have been at private homes—in backyards, he said.
"People don't realize 10 years ago most of these tract homes weren't here," Shobert said.
Once caught by firefighters, Shobert said crews relocate them to within one-fourth mile of where they were found.
"That is our goal. Their chances of survival decrease if taken farther than that," he said.
He advised folks not to "mess" with snakes because that is when they may bite. Instead they should call 911, he said.
Snakes can also pose a danger to pets. All Creatures Animal Hospital of Murrieta can vouch for several pets recently bitten.
"Rattlesnakes are very dangerous and very common to our area," said, in an emailed statement to Patch.
"They’re out everywhere right now, even in the most manicured suburban tract home yards. (We) have treated three pets in the past two weeks alone. One pet was bit three times. Luckily, the owner rushed their pet to our hospital within 15 minutes of getting bit."
A photo of a dog treated by All Creatures can be seen here.
All Creatures advised pet owners to seek immediate attention if they suspect their pet has been bitten. They advised against pet owners attempting to treat bites themselves.
Murrieta resident Lisa Daniels, who lives near Murrieta Valley High School, said two of her dogs were bitten by snakes last year, and Friday, three were bit.
Daniels said according to her veterinarian, the bites were indicative of a Southern Pacific Rattlesnake. The dogs were treated immediately and she said "all are doing fine so far."
Southern Pacific Rattlesnakes are native to much of Southern California, including Riverside County, according to CaliforniaHerps.com, and are an important part of the ecosystem.
To learn more about other types of native rattlesnakes and tips for safety, visit the California Department of Fish and Game website at Dfg.ca.gov.
Shobert warned residents to "be careful, look where you are walking and wear proper shoes—because they're out."