Southern Pacific Rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus helleri):
The Southern Pacific Rattlesnake is the only rattlesnake species found at Cabrillo National Monument. Like all rattlesnake species, it has a short, stout body with a large triangular-shaped head and a tail with segments that “rattle” when the snake shakes its tail. Unlike most other snakes that are able to quickly escape danger, rattlesnakes must rely on their cryptic coloration and remain quiet and still to avoid detection. If that doesn’t work, a rattlesnake will then rattle its tail as a warning. The last line of defense is to flee or, if cornered, defend itself with a bite. Rattlesnakes are an important part of the ecological community. They will not attack, but if they are threatened, they will defend themselves. If you see one, consider yourself lucky. Take a quick photo and give it some space.