Biologist and Cal Poly professor Emily Taylor has nearly 20 years of experience studying rattlesnakes, and as one of the only experts in the region, she’s been called out to a lot of homes and farms to safely remove unwanted snakes.
Over the years, she’s seen a lot of interesting reptilian behavior, like the time a 3-foot kingsnake wrapped itself around a pregnant rattlesnake of the same size and ate it slowly. Or in February when two male rattlesnakes were caught on camera duking it out at the Pismo Preserve.
PHOTO COURTESY OF CENTRAL COAST SNAKE SERVICES
HISS April and May are busy months for Pacific Rattlesnakes like the one pictured. Watch out for them while locked down at home.
While Taylor describes those kinds of sightings as “incredible” and “wonderful,” she’s well aware that not everyone feels the same way.
“I actually love snakes. I’m a snake lover,” Taylor told New Times
. “But I understand that that’s not universal.”
With forecasts of warm weather following closely on the heels of recent rains, rattlesnakes are likely to be out and about on the Central Coast throughout the next few months. April and May are always busy when it comes to rattlesnakes, according to Taylor. But she worries that with everyone locked up at home because of the COVID-19 pandemic—possibly spending more time in their gardens and yards than ever—there will be an uptick in encounters between rattlesnakes and people.
Central Coast Snake Services can help with that. Taylor officially started the business in October 2019, and while most of her revenue comes from hosting snake safety training courses for biologists, businesses, and military groups, Central Coast Snake Services also offers aid to residents in need.
Through her business, Taylor offers free snake identification and consultation services. If there’s a snake on your property, you can email Central Coast Snake services a photo or tag the company on social media, and Taylor will respond with an identification and some fun facts. She’ll also tell you how to deal with an unwanted slitherer on your property free of charge.
The costs come in when a snake needs to be professionally removed, and Taylor said the charges there mostly cover transportation. Whenever Taylor is called in to catch snakes, she releases them into appropriate habitats that are far from residential homes, businesses, and farms.
Central Coast Snake Services also offers snake fence installations and information on ways to make yards less appealing to snakes.
“Rattlesnakes are an important part of the ecosystem,” Taylor said, adding that while it's important to keep people, pets, and livestock safe from rattlesnakes, the same goes for the snakes. “So that everyone can live safely together.”
If you have a snake-related question or concern, call Central Coast Snake Services at (805) 401-0811.