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By Miriam Raftery

January 26, 2015 (San Diego) – A 15-year-old boy hiking at Mission Trails Regional Park on Sunday was bitten by a rattlesnake.

Rattlesnakes typically hibernate in the winter months, but  in San Diego, warm weather even in January can lead to snakes being active, so hikers are advised to take precautions on local trails.

The victim, Bradley Avey, was hiking with family members on Shepherd’s Trail when the snake struck him on the leg. His father told 10 News that the snake was at least three feet in length.

The boy was air-lifted to Rady Children’s Hopsital, where he is reportedly in good condition despite a swollen leg.

When hiking in brushy areas, always keep your eyes on the trail and scan from side to side as you walk.  It’s a good idea to carry a walking stick.  While in this case the snake struck within warning, rattlesnakes often do provide a tell-tale rattling sound before striking.  If you hear or see a rattler, freeze, then slowly back away.

Never reach into brush or onto rocks where you can’t see, since rattlesnakes often like to sun themselves on sunny, rocky ledges.

Always carry a cell phone when hiking and if you are bitten, call 911 immediately, since rattlesnake bites are almost never fatal if prompt medical attention including anti-venom treatment is received.

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