Watch out for rattlesnakes this summer. More are showing up in spots we're not used to seeing them. People in the Rio Bravo neighborhood, just east of Bakersfield, have had them slithering into their yards.
"And, then there was one coiled up back there," said Shelly Banks pointing to a spot behind her trash can where she saw a rattlesnake.
"They are out and about a whole lot more this year than they were in the past," continued Banks.
Shelly has spotted three rattlesnakes in her backyard this year. Both of her dogs, Jordan and Holly have been bitten. Jordan was bitten on her tail and Holly on her face.
"I was probably no more than three feet from it. I didn't see it, but I heard it rattle. She went up and stuck her nose on it and it bit her," said Banks.
Shelly took a picture of Holly that shows the swelling right after the rattlesnake struck.
Even though both of her dogs had been vaccinated for rattlesnake bites, 12-year-old Holly had a heart murmur and the venom complicated her condition.
"The snake bite did not help. The vet did say when we took her in, he said, you know, he was concerned about her heart and how she would do with it. And, in about two weeks we had to put her down," said Banks.
Kirt McKee, the reptile keeper at CALM, says rattlesnakes are on the hunt, going where they can find food.
"A factor probably is a good past couple of years of the rodent population allowing for a higher population of the rattlesnakes," said McKee.
And, it's not just in Kern County. California Poison Control has had 184 reported snake bites from April to June. That's up 61% from this time last year.
McKee says the Northern Pacific rattlesnake is the type we see around here. Their bites can be lethal.
"It's definitely going to ruin your day. It's not going to be a pleasant experience. Their venom breaks down the blood and the tissue of your body," described McKee.
McKee says most people are bitten trying to kill the snake. If you see one, better yet hear one, it's best to leave it alone.
Because it's hotter now, McKee says you are more likely to see the snakes come out when it's cooler in the mornings or evenings. And, if you are bitten seek immediate medical attention. Do not try to treat a rattlesnake bite at home.