Girl Bitten by Rattlesnake at Nature Park in Carmichael

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CARMICHAEL -- A young girl is recovering after she was bitten on the hand by a rattlesnake Saturday at Effie Yeaw Nature Center in Carmichael, according to park staff.

"Our executive director has been in contact with the family and she's doing well," said Rachael Cowan, the park's education coordinator.

The snake was reportedly underneath of piece of wood that the girl turned over.

"Rattlesnake sightings, considering how many live here, are actually quite low," Cowan explained.

The 100-acre nonprofit nature park is home to a vast array of wildlife, including an estimated 100 rattlesnakes. The snake population was studied extensively in recent years by researcher Mike Cardwell.

"They usually stay well away from people because they're really sensitive to vibrations in the ground from people moving," Cowan said. "Kids have a really great eye for them. They're a little bit closer to their level."

During warm spring weather, the likelihood of seeing rattlesnakes is on the rise because they come out of their winter dens seeking warmth and hunting for food.

To stay safe in rattlesnake country, Cowan advises staying on trails, avoiding wearing open toe shoes and being mindful of what's around you. If you see one she recommends staying a distance away that is at least twice the length of the snake.

Rattlesnakes are a natural part of the American River Parkway environment.

"Know that they're doing something really helpful for us because living by a river we have lots of rodents," Cowan explained. "And they help control the rodent population for us."

The young girl is a Girl Scout and Girl Scouts Heart of Central California posted a statement about the incident Wednesday:

"The information was not initially brought to our attention because the Saturday morning program had concluded and the girl was with family at the time. We were happy to learn that the injuries are being cared for and that our Girl Scout is fine. The incident is a real-life example of what Girl Scouting teaches and emphasizes: use caution when exploring environments shared by other living things."

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