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CENTRAL COAST REGION, Calif. – As the weather warms along the Central California Coast, some of our slithery neighbors are leaving their winter hibernation. Residents who discover a rattlesnake on their property now have an easy and humane solution.

The Central Coast Snake Service is offering free removal and relocation of rattlesnakes to residents of both Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties.

Residents with a rattlesnake on their property can call or text the 24-hour hotline at 805-401-0811.

“Rattlesnakes are important members of our ecological communities. If you call Santa Barbara County Animal Services, their policy is to kill the rattlesnake. Instead, we relocate rattlesnakes into nearby wild areas, following evidence-based practices,” explained Dr. Emily Taylor of California Polytechnic University.

Not sure if you have a ‘rattler’ on your hands? A photo of the snake is required to positively identify the snake when using the hotline and some helpful resources are listed below.

You might think the name-sake tail is the obvious place to start, but young rattlesnakes may only have a button (shown below) and some snakes, such as the non-venomous gopher snake, are known to coil up and wiggle their rattle-less tail to mimic true rattlesnakes.

The next most common way to identify a rattlesnake is by the shape of their head. Non-venomous snakes usually have a slimmer head while rattlesnakes have bulges on the sides of their heads where venom is stored, creating a triangular shape.

Before you lean in to get a better look at the snake in question, BE CAREFUL! Rattlesnakes can strike from one-third to one-half of their body length explain the County of San Diego Department of Animal Services so stay a safe distance away when taking your photo and sending it to the snake hotline.

The featured image for this article (the one at the top) shows the most common rattlesnake in the area, the Pacific Rattlesnake.

The post Free rattlesnake removal and relocation services available in Santa Barbara and SLO counties appeared first on News Channel 3-12.