Why You Should Watch Where You Step in the Alameda Watershed

Summer is here. Warm temperatures bring out the rodents and all sorts of critters who feed on them, including rattlesnakes.

In California alone, there are seven types of rattlesnakes. “Please be careful when you’re hiking in and around Sunol,” said SFPUC Alameda Watershed Keeper, Pat Jones. “You never know what you will step on.”

A rattlesnake found in the Peninsula Watershed.

Jones has been a watershed keeper for the SFPUC for several years. He’s seen his share of wildlife and the hazards that come with encountering them.

“The key to being safe is to be alert,” says Jones. “When hiking, stick to well-used trails, wear sturdy boots and loose-fitting long pants, do not step or put your hands under logs or in burrows where you cannot see.”

Alameda Watershed, Watershed Keeper, Pat Jones

Jones recommends hikers not to handle any snakes and to call experts for removal if needed. Equally important, he urges visitors to keep dogs on leashes for their safety as well.

“Remember rattlesnakes aren’t usually aggressive, but they can be provoked if they feel threatened,” shared Jones. “And when out enjoying nature, you are in their home after all.”

California whipsnake, also known as the striped racer, is a colubrid snake found in habitats of the coast, desert, and foothills of California. Snake found in the Calaveras Dam Replacement Project site.