Rattlesnakes come out of hibernation early: Experts say warm wather is the reason

SAN DIEGO - Though it is still a month away from the official start of spring, the above-average temperatures might be waking up spring creatures early.

A baby rattlesnake spotted in El Cajon and others across the county have sparked concern on whether the region's warm weather means an early start to rattlesnake season.

"Basically, if the weather is warm the snakes are going to be out," said Joey Brown, a reptile handler at the San Diego Zoo.

He spoke with 10News about the habits and types of rattlesnakes seen in the San Diego area.

"We have red diamond, south pacific, side-winders and speckled rattlesnakes … all are venomous," said Brown. "The most dangerous and common one spotted mainly in East County."

A common myth about baby rattlesnakes is they are more venomous than adults but Brown told 10News that is not necessarily true.

"The venom is just as potent as adults but one way they may be more dangerous is they don't have rattles, so you don't know they are there and they are smaller so you can't see them," said Brown.

When you hear the rattle of an adult snake, "they are letting you know, 'Hey, you are getting too close and if you get closer I’m going to strike,'" said Brown. 

According to the California Poison Control Center, nearly 800 people are bitten each year with two proving fatal.

If you are one of the 800, Brown says stay calm.

"Call 911 immediately to get the help you need as quickly as possible and remain calm," he said.

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