Snake Question

Dave

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#21
Our border collie got bitten by a blacktailed rattlesnake and survived with a stylish scar on his nose. Most dogs (and even cats) survive rattlesnake bites. At our desert place we see them frequently, and generally don't see them again. If they seem to have adopted the cottage as a frequent hunting ground, I'll move them off a few hundred yards and that generally takes care of it. Only once did Roseann take a shotgun to one, when it kept returning and hanging around the house despite several relocations, when our dog was 16 years old and a bite would have been really bad. I was in Africa at the time.

Rattlesnakes invariably just want to be left alone. Once you've spotted one, they're completely harmless, and pathetically easy to kill. All the guys who carry "snake loads" for "protection" are simply ignorant.

Great post @Jonathan Hanson thanks for sharing.
 

Jonathan Hanson

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#22
"That would be me. Thanks for sharing your opinion."

Please note I used the word "ignorant," not "stupid." Ignorant simply means uninformed. I'm ignorant of a thousand things.

The fact is, if you see a rattlesnake that's close enough to bite you, the smart procedure is to simply step (jump) out of range, not stand there and fumble for a pistol loaded with shot. Once you're out of strike range (a couple of feet even for a big snake), by definition you no longer need "protection." You can still choose to kill it if you feel the need, but you'd be doing so electively, not out of necessity. Does that make sense?
 

woody

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#23
I too try the live and let live thing within reason. I've found if you keep the small rodent population down you will have a lot less snakes around. No or little feed =no snakes pretty much
 

Mojoe Outfitters

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#24
Lot's of rattlesnake encounters over the years in the mountains and deserts. I only killed one, a Mojave Green - He was under the couch I was sleeping on at 2:00am out in Landers. My dog laid down about a foot away from it and it got really pissed off and aggressive. We figured trying to relocate it in the dark would be too dangerous so the shovel came out.

I read a story a few years back that rattlesnakes are rapidly evolving to not warn an interloper with its rattle. This is happening because in encounters with humans, the ones that do rattle, have a high probability of being killed by the human. Humans rarely see a quiet rattlesnake so those with that trait don't get killed.

Cam
 

Jesse

Adventurist
#25
I've never encountered a rattle snake but could could see it being a real possibility. We have a snakebite kit in the first-aid kit, but from what I've read it's best to not do anything other than get help, get to the hospital, and be able to tell those treating you about what it was that bit you.

Any input on how to treat a snake bite?
 

woody

Adventurist
#26
Keep the bitten one as calm as possible and with the advent of cameras in newer cell phones a picture of the critter may be of help and potentially sent ahead to the medical facility.
 

Dave

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#27
I've never encountered a rattle snake but could could see it being a real possibility. We have a snakebite kit in the first-aid kit, but from what I've read it's best to not do anything other than get help, get to the hospital, and be able to tell those treating you about what it was that bit you.

Any input on how to treat a snake bite?
TREATMENT OF A SNAKE BITE:

1. Keep the victim calm and reassured. If possible, allow the affected area to rest at a neutral level in relation to the victim’s heart.
2. Identify the bite site.
3. If the bite is on the hand, finger, foot or toe, immediately remove any rings, bracelets, watches or any constricting items from the extremity. Wrap leg/arm rapidly with 3” to 6” ACE bandage past the knee or elbow joint immobilizing it. Leave the fang marks open. Wrap no tighter that one would for a sprain.
4. Apply a proper splint
5. Make sure pulses are present.
6. If the situation dictates CASEVAC, you will not have a means of definitive treatment (i.e. anti-venin). If the tactical situation does not allow for immediate evacuation, then monitor ABCs and give supportive care as necessary (maintain airway, control bleeding, treat for shock, monitor site for swelling).

7. COMMON MISTAKES:

a. DO NOT cut or incise the bite site
b. DO NOT apply ice or heat to the bite site
c. DO NOT apply oral (mouth) suction
d. DO NOT remove dressings / elastic wraps
e. DO NOT try to kill the snake for identification as this may lead to other people being bitten
f. DO NOT have the victim eat or drink anything

NOTE: Most definitive care for envenomation is anti-venom ASAP at a hospital.

**See our SURVIVAL 101 THREAD for more on envenomations and a host of other first aid and survival related topics!**
 
#30
I keep a snake stick in the truck when out in the desert. Helpful for moving stubborn snakes, although I've never needed to use it thus far.
 

Mr. Leary

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#31
Trekking pole works well.

Ive only ever killed one rattler (with a 3 iron). Have killed several cottonmouths, though. They are by far the most aggressive snakes Ive ever encountered. The only snake I know of that will actually come after you.
 
#32
Mike, in Okinawa they have a snake called Habu (sp?) VERY aggressive we always had to be on the lookout. The poor rice farmers got bit quite regularly. Not sure how deadly but looked like chunks of skin were just torn off and never came back nasty scars. I was always on the lookout when in the boonies. More afraid of them than any rattle snake or moccasin :(
 
#33
"That would be me. Thanks for sharing your opinion."

Please note I used the word "ignorant," not "stupid." Ignorant simply means uninformed. I'm ignorant of a thousand things.

The fact is, if you see a rattlesnake that's close enough to bite you, the smart procedure is to simply step (jump) out of range, not stand there and fumble for a pistol loaded with shot. Once you're out of strike range (a couple of feet even for a big snake), by definition you no longer need "protection." You can still choose to kill it if you feel the need, but you'd be doing so electively, not out of necessity. Does that make sense?

Yes, absolutely. I agree that "defense" is not usually the immediate issue. I did shoot one that was in my driveway once, I was a walking and a little ahead of my dogs, they having stopped to investigate some smell of great importance. The snake was stretched out travelling, and coiled and rattled when it came near me. I was standing looking at it thinking of what to do, and the dogs came running down the driveway to catch up with me. They would have run literally right over it on their course, I wasn't sure id be able to deflect them both, so made the choice to shoot it with a birdshot load. After the one dog was bit (not the driveway situation), and all that I had close encounters with including one in the house, I changed my outlook on them. Most were choices to simply reduce the number of snakes in the immediate vicinity of home or where I frequent. I don't care about them anywhere else, and certainly don't mind bull snakes and others around, other than if they stick around in the yard and spook the dog. Those get relocated a ways away.

The rattlesnakes around here aren't especially aggressive, but seem to be able to materialize seemingly out of thin air. I was standing on a small hilltop with two dogs, and a snake came out of a small sage about a foot behind one of my dogs, realized there was something there, and coiled and rattled. The dogs were looking at me, and had zero clue it was even there. Trying to grab their collars and pull them away (two 85 lb dogs) made them balk and resist, not knowing what was going on or what I was trying to do. Ive also had one appear on a small sage about a foot off the ground right in front of us as we walked about dusk. I avoid some areas in the summer because there are more snakes, but they still are around most places unless I get high up in the mountains.

You are correct that many bites aren't serious, though some are quite serious. Its been speculated that sometimes they may not inject, or not as much (or have a reduced load at that time). Some people and animals have severe reactions. One never really knows what the reaction will be, or from one snake to the next or bite from the same snake may even be different.

This is the sort of thing that influences me to err on the side of caution about allowing rattlers around home or where I frequent walking. A 13 year old young man that was bitten in Yosemite Park.

http://www.rattlesnakebite.org/rattlesnakepics.htm

I have no problem with other folks perspective with rattlesnakes or how they deal with them, and I don't hate them, I just don't want them around where I live and regularly recreate. I just feel it isnt worth the chance of injury to my dogs or myself.

I came across a bull snake at very close distance about dusk. By the time my brain identified the shape of the head and the markings, my pistol was in my hand. Maybe 1 second or less. About the time it takes to say a 4 letter word. No conscious thought, it just happened. Not everyone fumbles with their gun.

A snake with a sense of humor. Was walking around the yard near dark (not same instance as above). This bull snake saw me, and hid his head. I think he thought he was hidden, he didn't move after getting his head under cover. Made me laugh.

youcantseeme.jpg
 
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Al Swope

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#34
The ARSES were attacked by a rabid ground hog while sitting in camp. It was by far the most aggressive animal I've ever seen. No fear. We have timber rattle snakes here in central PA. I have seen many. In a steel cage match, I'd choose to fight a snake over a rabid ground hog:)
 

Jonathan Hanson

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#35
"Any input on how to treat a snake bite?"

Dave's post is right on, although there is considerable doubt about the efficacy of wrapping the limb on crotalid bites. Best treatment by far is to keep the victim calm and get him to a hospital. Stress that mortality from rattlesnake bites is far less than one percent. When I was writing book that dealt in part with this subject I looked for a comparable statistic, and discovered that more people in the U.S. die each year from falling vending machines than rattlesnake bites. In both cases drunk young males figure significantly.

How they determine whether young male rattlesnakes are drunk I have no idea.
 

Joker

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Founding Member
#36
How they determine whether young male rattlesnakes are drunk I have no idea.

Breathalyzer, but very very carefully.

In Pre-Ranger watched a guy get down in the prone and then start squirming like something was wrong. Gets up in the push-up position and looks under to see what he was laying on and then launches back several feet letting out the funniest scream I have ever heard. He laid down on a 5ft eastern diamond back and the thing didn't bite, strike or rattle; it finally left when I got a big stick and chased it away. This wasn't early in the morning or when it was cold as you might expect a snake to act, this was around 15:30 in 95 plus degree heat which made the behavior so odd.

Cotton Mouth? Yea kill those bastages. It sucked being chest deep in the GA swamp and see one of those things slide off a log into the water and not know where it was.
 

CJones

Adventurist
#37
Lot's of rattlesnake encounters over the years in the mountains and deserts. I only killed one, a Mojave Green - He was under the couch I was sleeping on at 2:00am out in Landers. My dog laid down about a foot away from it and it got really pissed off and aggressive. We figured trying to relocate it in the dark would be too dangerous so the shovel came out.

I read a story a few years back that rattlesnakes are rapidly evolving to not warn an interloper with its rattle. This is happening because in encounters with humans, the ones that do rattle, have a high probability of being killed by the human. Humans rarely see a quiet rattlesnake so those with that trait don't get killed.

Cam
I've seen some of those articles too. Never in a journal though. And the times of seen that claim made I haven't really seen any sited studies nor do I know of any studies having been completed. It's a very rare thing to have a confirmed case of a rattlesnake not rattling. The ones I am aware of have been cases of misidentification with one case of the snake having a non-functional rattle. I'm not saying it isn't possible. I'm just saying that, from a biologist's perspective, there just isn't enough confirmed evidence to make that claim.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
#38
Jonathan Hanson, do you know any details of the Mojave's venom being different and having more pronounced effects than regular rattlers? I used to sleep on the ground in the Verde in Az quite a lot years ago, I didn't realize there were Mojaves there at the time.
 

Jonathan Hanson

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#39
Malamute,

Mojave neurotoxin has been well-documented in the literature. Essentially, most rattlesnake venom is mostly hemotoxic in nature; it destroys red blood cells and disrupts coagulation. Mojave venom adds a neurotoxic component that is destructive to nerve tissue and affects the pulmonary system. However, it varies widely regionally, and one can't simply state categorically that a bite from a Mojave rattlesnake will be worse than one from a diamondback or other species. I know a herpetologist who was bitten by a blacktailed rattlesnake, which has a reputation for unaggressive behavior and "mild" venom, who had a rough go of it. So any rattlesnake bite should be treated as a medical emergency. Note that you should not try to kill the snake to take it for identification; no matter what species it is the current antivenom treatment is Crofab. Any pulmonary complications will be treated symptomatically.

And remember how unlikely it is to be bitten in the first place, and how extremely unlikely it is that you will die even if bitten.
 
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