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Drought Brings Rattle Snakes Out Early

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With the weather getting warmer, homeowners across Northern California are seeing dangerous rattle snakes moving closer toward their houses due to the drought.

Experts said the snakes are following their prey to water sources, which means they'll be in closer contact with people and pets.

"(When you hear the sound of their rattle) freeze, figure out where it's coming from then... Take a step back," said Len Ramirez owner of Ramirez Rattlesnake Removal.

Ramirez also recommends people be careful when lifting logs in wood piles, rocks around gardens and tarps around their house, because often rattlesnakes will be hiding in those spots.

This week Ramirez said his phone hasn't stopped ringing.

He told FOX40 he has captured 36 snakes in the past 4 days, all from Northern California properties.

"Drought like conditions, I think it's going to be a tough year for rattle snakes for a lot of people," Ramirez said.

At an Auburn home, Ramirez found the latest snake to get dangerously close to people and their pets on Monday.
At first, the homeowner, Kelly, said she thought she heard a sprinkler.

"And I thought man maybe there's a broken sprinkler somewhere and went back to doing what I was doing and heard it again and thought, maybe there's a snake out there," Kelly told FOX40.

That's when she got her sons and her dogs inside.

"And then I could hear where it was coming from and it was laying on the patio over (there)," Kelly said.

Ramirez said last year alone, he personally saw 38 dogs being killed by rattlesnakes.

"It's important to keep your dogs in at night, protect the dog kennel by incorporating quarter inch mesh, as a deterrent to keep rattle snakes from getting in," Ramirez suggested to dog owners.

Ramirez said often people will kill the snakes themselves with a shovel, but he prefers to capture and later release snakes back into the wild.

"They do regulate rodent and amphibian population behind the scenes. They're a valuable service, we need them," Ramirez said.