Story at a glance

  • Widespread droughts throughout the West Coast are leading to a surge in wildlife sightings in urban areas in California.
  • Seventy-two percent of Western U.S. states are experiencing a “severe” drought.
  • Animals such as bears and rattlesnakes are wandering into urban and developed areas in search of water and a reprieve from the hostile conditions.

Widespread droughts throughout the West Coast are leading to a surge in wildlife sightings in urban areas in California, specifically sightings involving rattlesnakes and bears.

“I am busier than I have ever been,” Len Ramirez, owner of Ramirez Rattlesnake Removal company, told The Guardian. “Complaints are coming in from all over the state.”

As Changing America previously reported, 72 percent of Western U.S. states are experiencing a “severe” drought, with 26 percent experiencing an “exceptional drought” — the region’s worst drought in 1,200 years. 

The severity of such a hot and dry climate not only results in the prime conditions for more wildfires, but it is causing wildlife to wander into urban and developed areas in search of water and a reprieve from the hostile conditions.


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“The bear population is expanding its range, so bears are showing up in areas where they’ve never seen before,” Rebecca Barboza, a wildlife biologist with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, told ABC7 News.

Last month, a California teenager fought off a bear to save her dogs after it and its cubs attempted to climb over a wall into her backyard.

Meanwhile, Ramirez has recalled responding to jobs where he has had to remove more than 60 snakes from someone’s property.

As wildlife and human interactions increase, Ramirez has a small piece of advice for staying safe: “I always remind parents to be a good scout before your kids go out to play.” 


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Published on Jun 28, 2021