The Modoc National Forest has only 2 varieties of venomous snakes. The Northern Pacific Rattlesnake, Crotalus oreganus, mostly found in Siskiyou County west of Mt. Shasta, was once thought to be a sub species of Crotalus lutosus (Great Basin Rattlesnake found in Modoc County and east through Surprise Valley into Northern Nevada) but is now considered a distinct species.
It is possible you may encounter one of these species while visiting the Modoc National Forest.
Most snakes are actually shy and secretive animals that choose to avoid confrontation with people and are seldom seen. Regardless, PLEASE be cautious when hiking and recreating on the Modoc. If you do see one, leave it alone because if cornered, it will defend itself. In the event you come across a rattlesnake here are a few things you should know:
• Give rattlesnakes plenty of room. Keep a distance of at least 6 feet between you and the snake.
• Be aware of where you put your hands and feet. Do not attempt to look into or put your hands or feet in any holes, burrows or rock crevices.
• Listen. Rattlesnakes have a built in warning system and will usually (but not always) let you know when you are getting too close.
• In the unlikely event you are the victim of a snake bite, remain calm, stay as quiet as possible and seek immediate treatment at a hospital. NEVER cut into the bite or try to suck out the venom and NEVER use a tourniquet.
Many rattlesnake bites are "dry" bites in which venom is not injected. It is physiologically costly for a rattlesnake to waste venom on something other than a meal.