A 7-year-old boy was in stable condition as he was helicoptered to a hospital Wednesday after apparently being bitten by a rattlesnake on a trail at Mt. Diablo State Park, a state park ranger said.
The boy's mother carried him down to a parking lot on the north side of the park near Mitchell Canyon after the snake bite was reported around 4 p.m. Wednesday, according to Mt. Diablo supervising state park ranger Cameron Morrison, who met with the pair as other authorities also responded to the area.
The boy was running on a trail -- believed to be the Bruce Lee Spring Trail -- and felt something hurt his lower leg, but never saw the snake. However, his symptoms were consistent with a rattlesnake bite and authorities determined the best option for treatment was to take him by California Highway Patrol helicopter to John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek, Morrison said Thursday.
He said the boy was in stable condition when he was taken in the helicopter, and did not have an update on his condition as of midday Thursday.
"The mom did a great job keeping her son calm," said Morrison, who noted that is important when dealing with rattlesnake bites since an elevated heart rate can more quickly spread the venom through the body.
Rattlesnakes are "very prevalent" in East Bay foothills like the one where the bite happened, but "they're not aggressive and generally just bite if they're provoked or threatened," Morrison said.
He said hikers should "always look at the ground where you're putting your feet" and that the snakes "like to be in a place where they're protected, like the corner of a rock or underneath a downed tree."
If someone encounters a rattlesnake, they should give it space and it will eventually move or people should be able to find their way around it, according to Morrison.