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Rattlesnake 'Sss-potted' Swimming in San Luis Obispo Lake

A rattlesnake was spotted taking a dip in Lopez Lake in San Luis Obispo County, California, footage posted to Facebook on May 13 shows.

Janet Harshbarger posted this video and told Storyful that she, her husband, and her nephew were boating in a “no wake zone” when they saw the swimming snake.

“I circled the snake to see what kind it was,” she said. “To our surprise it was a rattlesnake.”

She added that she posted the video to warn her paddleboarding friends about snakes in the lake.

A San Luis Obispo County Parks ranger told The Tribune the behavior is unusual but not “entirely unheard of.”

According to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), California is home to seven species of rattlesnake, and they typically avoid people.

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“Bites are uncommon, but can occur if a snake feels threatened. Most bites occur between April and October, when snakes and humans are most active outdoors. Prevention is key to avoiding unwanted encounters,” the CDFW says.

A woman in Santa Barbara was recently airlifted after being bitten by a rattlesnake on a trail. Credit: Janet Harshbarger via Storyful

Video transcript

- Take a picture.

- Oh, I'm getting a video.

- OK, well take a video. Hang on, let's go. Let me go around and get this raft.

- I didn't know they could swim like that.

- Oh, yep.

[BOAT MOTOR]

- Wow. Terrifying. He's got a big 'ole rattle.

[BOAT MOTOR]

He was all ready to strike.

- Yeah, yeah. [INAUDIBLE]

- Definitely not going to get in the water now.

- Nah.

- Take a picture.

- Oh, I'm getting a video.

- OK, well take a video. Hang on, let's go. Let me go around and get this raft.

- I didn't know they could swim like that.

- Oh, yep.

[BOAT MOTOR]

- Wow. Terrifying. He's got a big 'ole rattle.

[BOAT MOTOR]

- He was all ready to strike.

- Yeah, yeah. [INAUDIBLE]

- Definitely not going to get in the water now.

- Nah.

- Take a picture.

- Oh, I'm getting a video.

- OK, well take a video. Hang on, let's go. Let me go around and get this raft.

- I didn't know they could swim like that.

- Oh, yep.

[BOAT MOTOR]

- Wow. Terrifying. He's got a big 'ole rattle.

[BOAT MOTOR]

- He was all ready to strike.

- Yeah, yeah. [INAUDIBLE]

- Definitely not going to get in the water now.

- Nah.