Rattlesnake ID

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ElPaso2008
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Re: Rattlesnake ID

Post by ElPaso2008 » Mon Aug 17, 2009 7:30 am

reptilist wrote:Snakes can be difficult to tell male from female....But with experience, one can give an educated guess, because the tails of the male are longer and thicker than the females. I would guess yours to be a male.
Here's a link to my website if you are interested in seeing more pics....
http://www.reptilist.com
Nice site. What a cool thing to do. It is strange how many people want to kill the rattler just for being one. Truth is, I kind of liked that rattler, and I can't wait to see him again.

I took interest in your snake bite page. It seems the literature contains different opinions regarding how effective it is to do anything on the spot, and all agreeing the first priority is just use a mild blood flow restrictor such as an ace bandate, keep the limb in a neutral position as you say, and call 911 as soon as you can. There seems to be some disagreement as to using the Sawyer extractor. Do you have one? I ordered one last week after the encounter with the black tail, thinking if someone else got bit it might at least give them a little peace of mind. I'd probably use it on myself for the same reason. It's bound to suck some venom out and seems harmless. Was curious about your thoughts on the Sawyer device.

Jerry Feldner
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Re: Rattlesnake ID

Post by Jerry Feldner » Mon Aug 17, 2009 7:44 am

Terry (Reptilist) is mostly right but I have been interested in the various color morphs of Blacktails for some time. I'd like to get Paul Huang of NM on here to post some of his great pics of various blacktails. The gorgeous golden color of the species only occurs in the mountains of SAZ from the Santa Ritas into Cochise County and adjacent NM and México. Most of the desert animals in AZ are dull and grayish brown. There is one population in the Hualapai Mtns of WAZ which actually has a silver background. That is not seen again until the mountains of WTX; the Sierra Blancas, Davis, etc. The first Blacktail I ever found in the Davis was a very striking silver color. That is a beautiful animal with a very aberrant pattern. Great pic!!

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Re: Rattlesnake ID

Post by Jerry Feldner » Mon Aug 17, 2009 8:04 am

"There seems to be some disagreement as to using the Sawyer extractor. "

Sawyer extractors are not effective and are useless in many cases. To understand why, one must have a bit of knowledge of what happens when a rattlesnake strikes. The fangs spread out horizontally which makes for fang marks much wider than the extractor. In spite of many communications to Sawyer from knowledgeable people, the company has refused to make any changes in their product to cope with this phenomenon. To my mind, you can put Sawyer extractors in the same boat as "cut-and-suck," "tight bandages," "electric shock," and "cryotherapy (freezing)."
Your best bet is to get to an emergency room or Poison Center as soon as possible. Unless a bite goes directly into a vein, there are several hours before deep effects are felt. That does not mean that swelling will not occur.
Of course, the best thing to do is to stay away from the snake. Rattlesnakes can only strike about 1/2 to 2/3 of their length - and, they do not have to coil to strike.

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Re: Rattlesnake ID

Post by reptilist » Mon Aug 17, 2009 8:18 am

Actually, proper snakebite first aid does not involve any constriction or sucking devices. Both techniques have been proven to increase local tissue destruction.

Snakebites are very complicated....When you are talking about rattlesnakes with predominately tissue destroying toxins all you should do is keep the bitten extremity in a heart neutral position. You don't want the venom to be 'contained', but you also don't want it racing towards the vital organs either. A possible exception to that rule would be a bite from a neurotoxic snake, such as the Mohave Rattlesnake....There is probably very little tissue destruction with that bite, but the paralysis of vital organs (i.e. breathing apparatus) is a very substantial threat to life....In fact, placing a constriction band may well cause you to lose the limb, but in dire cases, that's better than losing the life.

As for the Sawyer extractor, if it were applied immediately after the bite, it might pull a small amount of venom out, but generally speaking, the snake venom that is injected is pretty quick about being absorbed into your lymphatic system and you can't really get it back out. It's largely a waste of time and like I said, the extractor causes increased local tissue damage by 'concentrating' the toxin in a small area instead of dispersing and diluting.

The bottom line for most snakebites is to keep the bitten extremity immobile, but not constricted, keep the victim calm and call for assistance to evacuate immediately. It is best if the victim not drive themselves as they may pass out behind the wheel. Don't give the person any food or drink, and prepare to treat for shock. One little thing you can do is to use a pen to mark the time of the bite alongside the puncture marks....As swelling progresses, mark a line at the edge of it along with the time...Do that every 15 minutes. That will give the doctors information to help determine the severity of the envenomation.

(Jerry, I've seen golden/brown molossus along the Verde River many times.)

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Re: Rattlesnake ID

Post by ElPaso2008 » Mon Aug 17, 2009 8:25 am

reptilist wrote:The bottom line for most snakebites is to keep the bitten extremity immobile, but not constricted, keep the victim calm and call for assistance to evacuate immediately. It is best if the victim not drive themselves as they may pass out behind the wheel. Don't give the person any food or drink, and prepare to treat for shock. One little thing you can do is to use a pen to mark the time of the bite alongside the puncture marks....As swelling progresses, mark a line at the edge of it along with the time...Do that every 15 minutes. That will give the doctors information to help determine the severity of the envenomation.
Got it. Thanks much.

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Re: Rattlesnake ID

Post by Sycamore » Mon Aug 17, 2009 1:32 pm

I've also seen the golden/straw/yellow C. m. m. (molossus molossus) around Sedona, upper Sycamore Canyon , Upper Oak Creek, and on the rim near Williams, AZ.

I would think they are tied to the live-oak, madrean eco-system, like the Coues Deer. They represent the northern extent of an essentially Mexican species.

Never saw the desert phase, very cool, thanks for the pic.


Sycamore


p/s jury still out on Mojaves, probably at least 2 pops, Mojave A and Mojave B, only one has the mostly neuro-toxic venom. The other has very hemo-toxic/cyto-toxic.

Also, some pops of CV Oreganus and CV Concolor ( I know they have been renamed) have neuro-toxic components)

Interesting times, to have all this chemistry at our beck and call!

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Re: Rattlesnake ID

Post by ElPaso2008 » Mon Aug 17, 2009 1:44 pm

reptilist wrote:That's a Northern Black Tailed Rattlesnake...Crotalus molossus.
They look silverish/gray in the deserts, golden in the mountains or sometimes greenish like in my neck of the woods. This specimen is quite faded towards the back end, with a somewhat nontypical pattern across the front half.
Terry, I did have one more question. I was about 8 feet from the snake when I took that shot. Was I too close. I've read he can only strike from 1/2 to 2/3 his length, but then a friend pointed out that he could have recoiled and struck a second time. Maybe I wasn't using such good judgment after all.

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Re: Rattlesnake ID

Post by ElPaso2008 » Mon Aug 17, 2009 1:56 pm

Sycamore wrote:I've also seen the golden/straw/yellow C. m. m. (molossus molossus) around Sedona, upper Sycamore Canyon , Upper Oak Creek, and on the rim near Williams, AZ.

I would think they are tied to the live-oak, madrean eco-system, like the Coues Deer. They represent the northern extent of an essentially Mexican species.

Never saw the desert phase, very cool, thanks for the pic.


Sycamore
No problem, Sycamore. I think the camera is going to be with me all the time in the future.

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Re: Rattlesnake ID

Post by Goldseeker » Mon Aug 17, 2009 3:05 pm

Sycamore wrote:I've also seen the golden/straw/yellow C. m. m. (molossus molossus) around Sedona, upper Sycamore Canyon , Upper Oak Creek, and on the rim near Williams, AZ.

I would think they are tied to the live-oak, madrean eco-system, like the Coues Deer. They represent the northern extent of an essentially Mexican species.

Never saw the desert phase, very cool, thanks for the pic.


Sycamore


p/s jury still out on Mojaves, probably at least 2 pops, Mojave A and Mojave B, only one has the mostly neuro-toxic venom. The other has very hemo-toxic/cyto-toxic.

Also, some pops of CV Oreganus and CV Concolor ( I know they have been renamed) have neuro-toxic components)

Interesting times, to have all this chemistry at our beck and call!


What are those last ones you mentioned in non scientific terms? With the nuero toxic venom? In the DB family or what?

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Re: Rattlesnake ID

Post by reptilist » Mon Aug 17, 2009 4:08 pm

8 feet is a good safe distance. I tend to be around half that with my 200 mm lens...But it depends on the snake. If he is going crazy and striking at me then I stay lighter on my feet and further away.

No Bill, those species are in the Prairie rattlesnake family....The Northern Pacific Rattlesnake and the Midget Faded Rattlesnake.
Another partly-neurotoxic animal is the little Tiger Rattlesnake.

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