By Victoria Vidales | Contributing Writer

At 10:40 p.m. on September 2, a resident advisor opened the backdoor of Freitas Hall and came across a rattlesnake coiled in the darkness. Immediately, he slammed the door shut and alerted his residents.

Upon hearing the noise, fellow Residential Advisor, Tina Shubat ‘18, was one of several students to witness the snake. “It was stationary at first, curled up in a coil. You could see its rattle,” said Shubat.   

With the emergence of several residents, the snake began to move toward the building’s door. To prevent the snake from coming closer, another Residential Assistant began hitting the door to scare the animal. Public Safety was called to the scene. Eventually, the snake began to move away from the building and disappear into the night. “After ten minutes of not seeing the snake we assumed it had gone back to its environment,” said Shubat.

In the last two weeks, there have been five reported sightings, each incident occurring during the evening and night hours.

Public Safety Sergeant Jim Moss said, “It’s not uncommon to see [a rattlesnake] during this time of year.” Although it may not be uncommon for wild animals to venture onto campus, Moss believes “that the intense heat wave” in the area has caused many animals to leave their private habitats in search of water.

To avoid close encounters, Sgt. Moss suggests to stay on marked paths and not grassy, overgrown areas. “Don’t put yourself in harm’s way. Be aware of where you’re walking” he said.

According to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, rattlesnake attacks are most common between the months of April and October. Make sure to stay on marked trails and wear closed toed shoes. If you happen to be in the presence of a rattlesnake, avoid touching or stepping on the animal. Remove yourself from the situation as quickly as possible. If on campus, call Public Safety immediately.

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