SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - It's rattlesnake season year-round in San Diego but now is the time they come out in full force due to warmer temperatures.
San Diego Animal Services says the number of urban sightings this April is higher than this time last year, 94 versus 87. However, for the whole year, sightings are down compared to 2017.
Rangers at the Mission Trails Regional Park say hikers should not panic if they see a rattlesnake on the trail. They even recommend taking a picture if you're a safe distance away.
Rattlesnakes common throughout Mission Trails are the Southern Pacific and Red Diamond. Each can be several feet long and can strike about half their body length.
Hiker and volunteer guide Daryel Stager recently spotted a five-foot Red Diamond rattlesnake eating a possum.
"I thought it was pretty cool, I don't usually see them with prey they've killed," said Stager. "They want to be left alone and get some rays - like going to the beach."
Experts recommend keeping dogs leashed so that they do not startle a rattlesnake off the trail.