SANTA CLARITA – Spring promises warmer days and budding blooms, but beware: Unseasonable weather has awakened rattlesnakes early from their winter snooze. The local nature center has documented several sightings. “When you have strange, erratic weather patterns, you have strange, erratic emergence of animals,” said Ian Swift, director of the Placerita Canyon Nature Center and supervisor of the 350-acre park. “Things like temperature, rainfall, humidity are all these cues they respond to when it’s time to emerge.” Gauges at the nature center measured just 2inches of rainfall since July, one-tenth of the norm. Experts caution against handling rattlesnakes and urge people to call the department of animal control for removal. If you are bitten, call 911, immediately lower the area of the bite below your heart and remove any jewelry or clothing that might constrict blood flow. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! During winter, rattlers become inactive, imbedding themselves deep underground in abandoned animal burrows where the thermostat is pretty constant. Snakes are cold-blooded and unable to control their inner warmth. “Warm temperatures and extended daylight causes reptiles to become active,” said Russ Smith, general curator of reptiles at the Los Angeles Zoo. “They start crawling around looking for food, and in early spring they start looking for a mate. This month, we’ve already had 90-degree weather, and that’s gotten the little guys active.” Winter days when temperatures rise above the low 70s are considered warm. November tallied 10 such days; December had eight; January had five; and February had eight, said Stuart Seto of the National Weather Service. Southern Pacific rattlesnakes are the species indigenous to Southern California. About 200 snakebites are reported each year statewide. This month, a sixth-grader at Leona H. Cox Elementary School in Canyon Country was bitten by a juvenile rattlesnake that found its way into a classroom.