Rattlesnakes in Yosemite

Rattlesnakes are common in the park. The many rocky crevices make for a nice home. If you wander off established trials or go bouldering, be very aware of their presence. Do not reach into holes or between rocks. The snakes are not aggressive but can be territorial and could strike if you are probing where you should not be. Fortunately, they make the distinctive rattle noise to warn you to back off. This is a good reason not to listen to music while hiking!

Seen near the Little Spring

      In the spring, babies emerge. They are actually more of a problem as they will continue to bite while the adults give one bite then retreat. If you are bitten, remain calm and immobilize the bitten arm or leg and stay as quiet as possible to keep the poison from spreading through your body. Remove jewelry before you start to swell. Position yourself so that the bite is at or below the level of your heart. Cleanse the wound, but don’t flush it with water and cover it with a clean, dry dressing. Apply a splint to reduce movement of the affected area, but keep it loose enough so as not to restrict blood flow. Don’t use a tourniquet or apply ice. Don’t cut the wound or attempt to remove the venom. Don’t drink caffeine or alcohol. Don’t try to capture the snake, but try to remember its color and shape so you can describe it, which will help in your treatment. Call 911 or seek a Ranger to get help especially if your skin changes color, begins to swell or is painful.

Unrelated thought worth quoting: Waiting for the break of day. Searching for something to say. Flashing lights against the sky, giving up I close my eyes. Sitting cross-legged on the floor – 25 or 6 to 4.” – Chicago

About Mr Half Dome - Rick Deutsch

Mr Half Dome. Has written the only half dome hiking guide, One Best Hike: Yosemite's Half Dome. Has hiked it 31 times to day. Lives in San Jose, CA Available for presentations. Carpe Diem Experience, LLC
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One Response to Rattlesnakes in Yosemite

  1. Maureen L says:

    thanks for the piece on rattlesnakes.

    sometimes, they bite but don’t inject any venom.
    (you can always hope!)

    for more fun and info,


    there’s a species list and a separate piece on rattlers.

    have fun learning to distinguish rattlesnakes from gopher snakes,
    who rely on the resemblance for protection.
    (at least, that’s the assumption of mimicry from an evolutionary

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