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Encountering Rattlesnakes

In our part of the world rattlesnakes may become active in any spell of warm weather—even during the winter. But it's March and April that usually produce the first encounters of the year. A good understanding of their behavior and ecology is the key to safely sharing their world.

Rattlesnakes are essential to the biodiversity and ecology of our region. They are important predators in most of our local habitats, with rodents being a significant portion of their diet. Learn more about the rattlesnakes which occur within the Museum's region of focus—including species endemic to islands in the Gulf of California— in the Amphibian and Reptile Atlas of Peninsular California.

How do you recognize a rattlesnake? Does a rattlesnake stay in one area or move from place to place? If someone is bitten by a rattlesnake, does this mean they're going to die? What should you do if you're nervous about being out where there are rattlesnakes? For answers to these and other questions we're asked most often about rattlesnakes, see our Rattlesnake FAQs.