Poisonous Rattlesnake Slithers through Marina del Rey

Posted August 12, 2015 by The Argonaut in News
A nearly five-foot rattlesnake caused a standoff with nature at the Marina del Rey Sheriff’s Station parking lot L.A. County Sheriff’s Dept.

A nearly five-foot rattlesnake caused a standoff with nature at the Marina del Rey Sheriff’s Station parking lot
L.A. County Sheriff’s Dept.

A nearly five-foot long poisonous rattlesnake slithered its way up to the front doorstep of the Marina del Rey Sheriff’s Station on Fiji Way at about 4 p.m. on July 31, prompting a chase as the snake approached bicyclists traveling the nearby bike path.

Deputies contacted county Animal Control officers, who killed the snake after failed attempts to capture it. Animal Control officers on the scene told deputies the snake carried enough venom in its fangs that it could have killed several adults, said Dep. Amber Smith.

The rattlesnake’s origins remain unknown, but environmentalists have spotted others of its kind in the part of the Ballona Wetlands south of the Sheriff’s station.

Former Friends of the Ballona Wetlands Executive Director David Kay wrote in a March 5 blog post that he saw a baby rattlesnake during a wetlands cleanup organized by the state officials. Karina Johnston, director of watershed programs for the Bay Foundation at Loyola Marymount University, also confirmed it was a rattlesnake.

Several rattlesnakes have been seen in and around the south Ballona Creek levee, said Johnston, a restoration biologist.

“But I really couldn’t say anything about the actual population of them locally,” she said. “It is likely that there are at least several individuals in the area, and they are expected to be more active in the warmer, summer

— Gary Walker


    Jonathan Coffin

    Does Animal Control not have officers who are trained to safely relocate wildlife that clearly wandered off a nearby ecological reserve? The notion that bicyclist were imminently in danger of an approaching rattlesnake while Animal Control officers were present seems ludicrous enough if not a reason for concern. Rattlesnakes don’t chase people on bicycles they try to avoid them. How about posting signs along the bike path and along the ecological reserve fence line to let people including bicyclist know that the snakes are present and to act accordingly with caution. Maybe it will get some people to keep their dogs on leashes when visiting.There are creatures amongst us so lets learn to live with them and respect their presence.


      I agree with Jonathan. It seems absurd that Animal Control could not catch the Snake. Perhaps they should have called a Snake Handler to the scene. It’s sad that the Snake was probably either lost of looking for food or water not out on a attack. Yes they are poisonous but are also a part of the Ecoststem that keeps dwindling down from 2000 acres to 200 acres and now only a few left…it is what used to be a place where whales beared young at the mouth of the bay. The hunters and gathers lived peacefully with nature and there was balance. Now with overpopulation and mass building MDR went from being dredged out in the 60’s to an overbuilt, overpopulated congested mess. It’s sad to hear when any wild animal’s life is taken and I’m not a fan of snakes but they are a natural part of the ecosystem in various parts of California including Malibu. Perhaps they could have called them for help at least they still have a better balance with nature. And once the balance is tipped to far it’s humans who will ultimately pay the price…perhaps people should be concerned with Playa Vista re:methane gas alerts in every housing structures…and one 5′ foot venomous snake is a major threat and now people want to go hunting for more…sad but it sounds like the snake was a victim and possibly a mother out looking for food since there are plenty of those running around at night near the restaurants and to be quite honest the public restrooms are probably more toxic and dangerous with all the bacteria lurking about that you can’t see…but thankfully the snake didn’t have a gun so the only casualty was its own life! Humm sounds like survival of the fittest…man wins again. Hopefully signs will be posted as Jonathan mentioned and a sign stating a little history about the types of snakes that are present as the Cslifornia King snakes are often mistaken for rattle snakes and killed esp. babies as it’s hard to tell unless you are close enough to hear or see the rattler and in that case a baby rattler can be more dangerous than an adult since they don’t typically have the capacity to bite and release yet. I surely hope no one I’d ever harmed by one but if you are riding, running or walking near nature trails to enjoy the beauty you must also educate yourself and be respectful as there are many dangerous and/or poisonous plants and animals in nature yet it is all what makes it beautiful and very fragile as well. Education, respect and understanding balance is key to man’s survival.

      i guess so

      well its the american way. kill every living thing thats not human, first…when nothing is left built expensive real estate so ignorant fucks with more money than brains can have a nice view. where have you been the last 100 or so years? jeesh….


    Why wasn’t CA Dept. of Fish & Wildlife involved with a decision related to an animal that is under their jurisdiction? Another demonstration that the absentee managers of the State of California is not working at the Ballona Wetlands Ecological Reserve. Let’s get a responsible agency there who will have rangers and ecologists present on a regular basis.

    Richard Brody, Ballona Wetlands Reserve Manager

    The California Department of Fish and Wildlife has a daily presence at the Ballona Wetlands Ecological Reserve. Constantly repairing fences from illegal tresspassers, speaking to dog walkers, and cleaning up illegally dumped debris (over 30 tons this year alone). Unfortunately we were not notified about this particular incident until after the fact. Calling Animal Control was a prudent decision, but we agree native snakes are a critical part of any ecosytem regardless how degraded and should be relocated back into their habitat when possible. The Department engourages anyone who sees anything worth reporting to contact us immediately (richard.brody@wildlife.ca.gov). It takes a village, especially an Ecological Reserve surrounded by so much human activity. Thank you all for your concern and assistance, as Marsha knows, my line is always open.

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