RAMONA, Calif. (KGTV) - Forest service officials are alerting San Diegans to keep their eyes out for rattlesnakes around property and on local trails as spring sets in.
Cleveland National Forest officials found a young rattlesnake hiding in the shade under a drainage pipe at the department's Palomar district office in Ramona this week.
The snake was captured and released unharmed, officials said, though "still angry."
Despite last year's trends, San Diego has been enjoying a lull in rattlesnake calls. The county has recorded a total of 82 calls since the beginning of 2018, according to Daniel DeSousa, director at the county Department of Animal Services.
Last year, San Diego saw a surge in rattlesnake calls to the county. Most of those calls occurred in April but continued well into June. Between January 2017 and March 2017, the county saw 177 calls for rattlesnakes. That number rose to 232 the next month.
Traditionally as San Diego heats up, sightings could increase.
"Due to our very temperate climate, rattlesnakes can be found year round in our County, in communities ranging from the coast to the deserts," DeSousa said during last year's spike. "But snake sightings may spike during hot spells."
When encountering a rattlesnake, residents should keep a safe distance away and call county animal services. Animal control officers will be sent out to impound the snake and place it in an area where it doesn't pose a threat to humans.
Residents in San Diego County's unincorporated areas or in Carlsbad, Del Mar, Encinitas, San Diego, Santee or Solana Beach can call Animal Services at 619-236-2341. Otherwise, residents should call the respective animal control agency for their city.