Hesperians typically encounter the area's native snakes as the weather warms in spring, but city officials say that there have been an unusual number of snake encounters reported this fall.


"We had nine rattlesnake calls last week and we typically have zero for this time of year," city spokeswoman Kelly Malloy said Friday.


Malloy said Animal Control officers aren't sure what's triggering the late-season activity. But she offered the following snake safety tips:


Look for snakes before moving trash cans, plywood, stacked firewood, weeds, hay or animal feed;


Be alert when walking in grass barefoot as it is a perfect place for snakes to cool themselves;


Be alert when walking or playing in empty fields; and


Teach children to respect snakes and leave them alone.


Officials recommend residents leave any snakes they encounter outside alone. For indoor snakes, call Hesperia Animal Control at (760) 947-1700, step back a safe distance and keep an eye on the snake until an Animal Control officer arrives.


"Sometimes we forget that, despite the development that has happened over the last decade, many wild animals including rattlesnakes still call Hesperia home," City Manager Mike Podegracz said in a statement. "It is important to always be watchful when moving items around your yard like firewood, plywood or even animal food."


For more tips on snake safety, visit www.CityOfHesperia.us.