The biggest rattlesnake I didn’t see was about 4-ft long. This information according to a couple fellas I met while hiking the trails at Laguna Niguel Regional Park.
I watched carefully every day. The dog I was caring for had been bitten earlier in the year, and his owners warned me to keep a close eye on the trails. Shortly after I arrived to house and dog-sit, the park put up signs everywhere about the rattlesnakes in the area.
I had never been very worried about snakes before. I like snakes, in fact. But the sudden introduction of signs at every fork had me looking for signs of my own.
In fact, I began seeing “snakes” and “snake-sign” everywhere.
In the mornings after the ground was wet from mist or the sprinklers, I swore the twisting tracks in the caked mud were snakes, not snaking water heading downhill. Once when I pulled up to the park I thought I saw a snaked curled up near the parking lot.
It was a bike tire.
Sticks, particularly crooked ones, made me stop dead in my tracks, hauling in the dog on his extendable leash until I could listen and get a closer look.