The Biggest Rattlesnake I Didn’t See at Laguna Niguel Regional Park

rattlesnake warning sign
It’s a smart warning sign, but seeing these images every quarter mile or so with the leashed dog next to the picture of the snake made me a bit jumpy.

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.

false snake
What the heck is that??

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.

bike tire snake
The “snake” up close is simply 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.

stick snake
Sunlight and shadows played tricks on my mind. And it wasn’t without good reason to worry. Rattlers were seen crossing this path and I wasn’t taking any chances.

fallen branch snake
Most often, the “snakes” in shadows and sunlight were fallen branches

A black hose just peeking from leaves caused me to jump backward. I think I nearly gave the poor dog a heart attack on that one.

hose looks like snake
This one made me jump.

hose looks like snake
Even up close, I still threw a rock just to make sure