SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Reports of rattlesnake encounters in San Diego County have spiked so far this year, as residents are just beginning to enjoy the summer months.
County officials have received at least 665 rattlesnake calls since the beginning of the year, compared to 549 during the same period last year, according to Daniel DeSousa, director at the county Department of Animal Services.
The bulk of those calls came in during the month of April, with 232 recorded calls around the county. So far in June, county officials have received at least 95 calls, with at least 44 reported since June 14.
San Diego County's monthly call totals for 2017 are as follows:
Around the county, 10 zip codes make up almost half of all reports thus far this year, with 323 calls logged between Jan. 1, 2017, to June 21, 2017:
The other 342 calls have been recorded in various areas outside these zip codes.
The county's record-setting heat spell may be partly to blame for recent reports. Rising temperatures tend to bring rattlesnakes out more often, according to DeSousa.
"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. "But snake sightings may spike during hot spells."
But as long as residents are aware of their surroundings and keep their distance, officials say they should have a safe summer.
"Snakes are most likely venturing out in search of food and to soak up the sun," San Marcos Park Ranger Ron Vinluan said in a release. "People think they’re going to chase you—that isn’t so. They don’t want anything to do with us."
Spring Valley neighbors have recently reported two dangerous snake encounters.
In one instance a dog was bitten but survived, and in the other, a child reportedly almost stepped on one before a family member killed the snake.
If you encounter a rattlesnake, Animal Services cautions residents to keep an eye on it from a safe distance and to call the proper experts. Animal control officers will be called to impound the snake and remove it to an area where it doesn't pose a danger to the public.
Residents in the county's unincorporated areas or of Carlsbad, Del Mar, Encinitas, San Diego, Santee or Solana Beach can call Animal Services at 619-236-2341, otherwise, residents should call the animal control agency for their city.
Mark Saunders is a KGTV digital producer. Follow him on Twitter at @MarkCSaun.