Saturday, March 10, 2012


While getting ready to jump into a rocky pit the other day at work, I was reminded by the distinctive hissy rattle of a diamondback that it is again rattlesnake season. They like to come out this time of year, when it is warming up, to warm themselves on the rocks.

While I am pretty sure I have run much faster than safely needed to after stepping on a snake and I have seen other coworkers do the same, I have never yet seen anyone snake bit. Last year, I did attend a lecture about snakes presented by herpetologist(scholarly snake guy) Rick Oliver.

Here are some things he had to say about snakes:

- The primary risk factors for being bit by snakes are being male and between the ages of 4 and 24.

This is probably because this demographic is generally the one dumb enough to play with snakes. I am sure there are some exceptions, like being an older guy dumb enough to play with them or falling, or jumping, into a pit with snakes like the girl in True Grit.

- Many snake bites, even from poisonous snakes, are not venomous.

Many, maybe even most, but not all. they would just rather not waste their venom on you. You are too big too eat.

- Young snakes will give you every bit of venom they have.

So, if you have to get snake bit, get bit by an older snake.

- Constrictors are dangerous.

While it seems cool and harmless to have a big constrictor around your house and draped around your neck, if they decide they want to eat you and you let them wrap them self around you, you probably won't be able to get them off until you stop breathing for a while. It has happened, way more than once.

So, a few of my tips on staying safe around snakes:
Don't play with them, don't get bit by the young ones, don't fall into a pit when you have already beaten Ned Pepper and don't wrap snakes around your children.

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