It’s illegal to relocate rattlesnakes

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When asked what someone should do if they find a rattlesnake in their yard, California Department of Fish and Wildlife Biologist Kevin Brennan said, “Nothing. If it’s threatening you or your pet and you’re willing and capable, kill it. Otherwise, just spray it with a stream of water from a hose and it will go away.”

Often, however, people relocate the snake to another property. “It is illegal to relocate any species of wildlife in California,” said Brennan. He said doing so is considered abandonment. The reason why is because the animal’s chance of survival is very slim. “They usually die within a matter of weeks.”

He said studies show the mortality rate of relocated wild animals is 90 percent. “It’s true of all species,” Brennan said. He said it is very difficult to re-introduce wildlife back into a former habitat for the same reason.

According to the Fish and Wildlife Code section 2118: “These regulations do not authorize any person, facility or organization to accept, possess or relocate nuisance wildlife. Any healthy wildlife trapped in towns or cities or removed from under buildings or otherwise taken or trapped in accordance with Section 4152 or 4180, Fish and Game Code, shall be immediately released in the area where trapped or disposed of as directed or authorized by the department.”

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