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Rattlesnakes in Los Angeles: What to do?

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This past weekend at an Earth Day cleanup in the Valley, a few teenage boys came upon a rattlesnake while picking up trash. Unfortunately, the overzealous teens killed it, something you're not supposed to do (as the San Diego Zoo says, "these beautiful animals are important to the environment because they control rodent populations.")

"Of the 14 snakes found in the Santa Monica Mountains, only one, the southern Pacific rattlesnake (Crotalus viridis), is venomous," the National Park Service says on their reptile database for the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area (and for what it's worth, the sometimes different looking Northern Pacific Rattlesnake has made home in some parts of SoCal as well, Wikipedia writers say).

So what should you really do if you encounter one of these venomous reptiles? The San Diego Zoo gives the low-down on how both snakes defend themselves and how we should, too: