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a snake in the doghouse



 
 
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Old September 10th 05, 01:40 AM
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Default a snake in the doghouse

Having had a lab that suffered a snakebite on the nose, I though that this
was a great article to pass along. If you have a friend who may be
interested feel free to post it...

This article may be redistributed in digital or printed format, as long as
all citations, links, and attributions (including this notice) remain
intact.

There's a snake in the doghouse!!!
What to do (and not do) when you see a snake

by Chad Minter

First, don't kill nonvenomous snakes. Any given area can only support a
fixed number of snakes. If you kill the nonvenomous snakes that leaves a
food supply that could support a population of venomous snakes.

Remember to stay a safe distance from the snake. Snakes usually strike about
1/2 their body length, but they can strike farther. You also don't want to
trip and fall on the snake.

Learn what snakes are venomous near you. If you are in the southeast, take
the venomous snake ID tests at http://www.envenomated.com

80% of bites occur when someone tries to catch or kill a snake. The safest
thing you can do if you see a snake is to leave it alone. (It's probably
protected by law anyway.)

85% of bites in the United States occur on the hand and forearm. 50% involve
a victim under the age of 20. 70% of bites in the United States involve
alcohol consumption.

If you have a snake in your yard, either call someone trained in their
removal or stand at a safe distance and spray it with a garden hose. Snakes
hate that and will leave quickly.

Step on logs rather than over them. Snakes coil beside logs in the "Reinert
Posture" and might mistake your leg for a predator or prey.

Watch where you put your hands and feet. Do not reach under boards with your
fingers.

Snakes can be handled safely with proper tools and training, but do NOT risk
trying to handle venomous snakes if you have not been professionally
trained. There are things that no website can teach you about how to handle
venomous snakes safely.

You can minimize the appeal of your yard to a snake by 1. cutting the grass,
2. picking up debris, and 3. Controlling rodents. If there is no food or
shelter the snake will soon leave for better hunting grounds.

The safest thing to do if you see a snake is to LEAVE IT ALONE. Most bites
occur when someone is attempting to capture or kill a snake.

If you are bitten by a snake, seek immediate medical care from a licensed
and experienced physician. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the
first aid for snakebite consists of:

"Do remain calm - Remember that there is an excellent chance for survival,
and in most cases there is plenty of time.

Do suck and squeeze - as much venom as possible directly from the wound.
Venom is protein and can be taken orally with no ill effects.

Do remove jewelry - Swelling can progress rapidly, so rings, watches and
bracelets can be a real problem.

Do mark the time - The progress of symptoms (swelling) is the most obvious
indicator of the amount of envenomation.

Do keep the stricken limb below the heart.

Do get to a hospital as quickly as possible - Anti-venom serum is the only
sure cure for envenomation, and because some people are allergic to horse
serum it should only be given in a fully equipped medical facility.

In case of a Coral bite, do pull the snake off immediately - Corals' fangs
are relatively small, and they have to work at getting venom into the wound.
Therefore, the faster the snake is removed the less venom is injected.

Do attempt to identify the offending snake - Positive identification in the
form of a dead snake is helpful, if convenient, but no time or safety should
be wasted since the symptoms will give medical personnel an accurate
diagnosis.

Do get a tetanus shot.

Don't cut the wound - This almost always causes more damage than it's worth.

Don't use a tourniquet - This isolates the venom in a small area and causes
the digestive enzymes in the venom to concentrate the damage.

Don't use alcohol orally - it speeds the heart and blood flow and reduces
the body's counter-acting ability.

Don't use ice - Freezing the stricken limb has been found to be a major
factor leading to amputation."

Remember, snakes have their place in the ecosystem and were around long
before we arrived. We are the visitors in their garden. Snakes are quite
capable of defending themselves, but are reluctant to do so. If you follow a
few common sense rules you can minimize an already very small risk of
snakebite during your outdoor adventure.

Chad Minter is the author of Venomous Snakes of the Southeast, and the
webmaster of The Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake Page at
http://www.envenomated.com




 




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