San Jose: Media Advisory: Tips For Safely Enjoying Parks and Trails During Warm Weather Months
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Ed Bautista, Interim Communications Manager, Parks, Recreation & Neighborhood Services (PRNS)

Background:Warm weather attracts greater numbers of people and wildlife to San José parks and trails. Residents are advised to take precautions to prevent heat-related illness and encounters with wildlife while taking care of their physical and mental health outdoors.

The Department of Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Services' Park Rangers would like to share safety tips with visitors venturing through San José's parks and trails. Follow these tips along with all park rules, posted signage and State and County health guidelines to stay safe during warmer days.

Warm weather/hiking precautions:
  • Stay on marked trails and keep your pets on a leash to reduce encounters with rattlesnakes, ticks, and mountain lions.
  • Avoid hiking when temperatures start to rise.
  • Bring plenty of drinking water for you and your pets.
  • Use sun protection.
  • If you think you or someone else is suffering from heat stroke, call 911.
Rattlesnakes are more commonly seen during the summer months because their cold-blooded bodies require heat regulation. Rattlesnakes will seek the sun or radiating heat from rocks, trails or asphalt during cooler parts of the day.

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Rattlesnake precautions:
  • If you see a snake, stop and keep your distance. Never attempt to touch, catch, kill or scare it away. Give the snake space to back away. Snakes are an important part of the ecosystem as they help control rodent populations, which can carry disease.
  • Stay on marked trails. Rattlesnakes will often hide in rocky areas and high brush.
  • Always watch where you step and be sure to look for snakes in areas of high brush, under logs and when stepping over logs or fallen trees.
  • Wear long pants and heavy boots that are four inches above the ankle.
  • Tell a Ranger or park employee if you see a snake. Rangers will capture and relocate the snake away from potential human interaction.
  • In the rare case of a snake bite, do not panic. Remain calm and slowly move away from the snake. DO NOT apply a cold pack or tourniquet, cut the bite or attempt to suck out the venom. Call 9-1-1 or send someone for help.
Ticks are small arachnids found in wooded and grassy areas that can attach to animals and people and feed on their blood. Tick bites are extremely dangerous due to the transmission of Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses, some of which can be fatal without treatment.

Tick precautions:
  • Stay on marked trails. Do not walk through high brush.
  • Wear repellent.
  • Check your body and clothing for ticks after a hike. Wear light colored clothes when hiking so you can see the ticks easier.
  • Shower soon after being outdoors.
  • Call your doctor if you develop a fever, rash, or cannot completely remove the tick and all its mouth parts. Do not burn, smother with petroleum jelly, or put alcohol on the tick.
  • Go to the hospital immediately if the tick bite causes fever, headache, confusion, weakness, numbness or difficulty breathing.
  • If you have a dog, take precautions and get them preventative medication. Check dogs' hair for ticks after hikes and if any are found, carefully remove the entire tick with tweezers.
Mountain lions, also known as "pumas" or "cougars" are a protected species in California. These large, powerful predators play an important role in the ecosystem. More than half of California, including most of undeveloped Santa Clara County, is prime mountain lion habitat.

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Mountain Lion Precautions:
  • Stay on marked trails and avoid hiking alone, especially at dusk or dawn.
  • Never approach a mountain lion.
  • Back away slowly. This gives the lion an opportunity to escape. Do not remain in the area or try to pass.
  • Stand tall, face the animal, make noise and try to look bigger by waving your arms or throwing objects.
  • Do not turn your back or run away, which might trigger a chase response.
  • Pick up small children, without bending over.
  • Fight back, if attacked.
  • Report all mountain lion sightings and encounters immediately. If you see a mountain lion in the area, call 3-1-1 or 9-1-1 if the animal shows signs of aggression such as growling or chasing.
For more tips, visit our wildlife and warm weather tips web page.

Filed Under: Government, City

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