Mountain biker catches rattlesnake fight in Trione-Annadel State Park on video
Out for a bike ride in Trione-Annadel State Park last week, Santa Rosa's Nicholas Moreda didn't expect to come face to face with some of the most dangerous snakes in Northern California.
But, that's exactly what happened when he was met with not one, but two, deadly Northern Pacific Rattlesnakes. Lucky for Moreda, the two reptiles were too preoccupied with each other to take much notice of him.
"I was surprised. I thought it was a branch, and when it moved, I was caught off guard," said Moreda, who spotted the snakes on South Burma trail from about 10 feet way on Thursday.
After getting over his initial shock, Moreda pulled out his phone, took a quick video of the encounter and posted it to Facebook. Since Thursday, the Facebook video has garnered more than 3,300 views.
He initially thought the two snakes might be mating. "Morning trail traffic. #getaroom," he jokingly commented on Facebook.
But, according to Wendy Lam, a rattlesnake expert with Vallejo-based nonprofit JnW Reptile Rescue, the snakes were actually fighting over a female.
"The snakes are fighting over competition to mate with a female," Lam said. "The video shows two males, so there must be a female nearby [off camera]."
According to Lam, the two reptiles were in a territorial standoff. "Whoever wins will get to mate," said Lam.
So, what do you do if you, like Moreda, see a rattlesnake?
With summer's warm weather, more and more rattlesnakes are out on Sonoma County's trails. According to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, snakes will typically become more active around dusk, dawn, and throughout the night during the warmer months.
Fish and Wildlife recommends that you stay aware of your surroundings during rattlesnake season as snakes aren't just confined to rural areas; they can be found in urban settings, as well.
When walking through grassy and bushy areas, wear long, loose-fitting pants and closed-toed shoes. If hiking with a dog in rattlesnake country, always keep him on a leash.
Don't rely on the telltale sound of a rattlesnake's rattle to notify you of nearby danger; many rattlesnakes don't use their rattle in order to remain undetected, and they are known to strike without warning.
If you are bitten by a rattlesnake, stay calm and get to the nearest medical facility. Be sure to remove any clothing items that may restrict swelling. Do not ice or compress the wound, cut the wound, or attempt to suck the poison out with your mouth.
Rattlesnake venom can affect the liver, so avoid drinking alcohol or taking liver-damaging medication in the weeks following the bite.
If you encounter a rattlesnake in a urban area, call an animal control facility to help remove the reptile and release it back into nature. Do not attempt to capture or kill the snake yourself. JnW Reptile Rescue in Vallejo and Sonoma County Reptile Rescue in Sebastopol are two organizations that can help relocate the snake to a safer area.
Rattler season is upon us, so remember to stay safe and aware- you might just catch a once-in-a-lifetime video if you keep your eyes peeled.