Rattlesnake Precautions

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ElPaso2008
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Rattlesnake Precautions

Post by ElPaso2008 » Fri Aug 21, 2009 2:52 pm

I hate to beat the rattlesnake thing to death, but today the realtor and I spent about three hours wandering all over the canyon staking out property lines. No doubt, I'll be up there by myself a lot in the next few days.

After the rattlesnake picture was ID'd I got curious about certain questions I thought I'd post for comment.

1. Videos on YouTube.com show the incredible speed at which these snakes strike. No video of it striking anything was there, but there was a video of one striking a warm water balloon. Before the human eye could even register the motion the snake had popped the balloon and had recoiled for another strike. When they actually sink their fangs into you do they hang on a second or two or do they quickly inject the venom and recoil? 2. When exploring by myself I've been wearing a pair of blue jean shorts under my bluejeans and a pair of "snakeproof" boots. Should I wear gloves also. If the pits are heat sensors, would the snake bother to even strike the leg, or would it just go for the hands and forearms since they are exposed. 3. I haven't seen anything specific about how long a person can expect to stay half-way alert and conscious after being bitten. I was wondering how long I could expect to function if that should happen. 4. When walking through the brush I've been examinig every plant before I step around or over it. Is there anything else I can do to spot them? Thanks in advance.

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Re: Rattlesnake Precautions

Post by reptilist » Fri Aug 21, 2009 3:10 pm

1. Sometimes they hang on for a second or two. An agitated snake is more likely to give you a bigger dose than merely a surprised snake...But that is not a hard and fast rule, some are just so fearful of you that they will intend to kill you...But in roughly a quarter of all snakebites, little or no venom is injected.
2. Gloves are minimal protection, but better than nothing. If you were bitten through a glove, the extra material will help prevent a deeper injection of toxins. If you are climbing, you better watch where you put your hands. They also use their eyes...movement especially. You are more likely to be bitten from the ankle on down regardless of their heat sensoring ability.
3. On the average, a bitten person has about 6 hours until life threatening symptoms begin to appear....No need to panic, but no time to dawdle either. Movement of the stricken limb, allergic reaction, propensity towards shock, general healthiness and other factors will affect that time.
4. Carry a walking stick and poke it forward. Walk heavy, if they feel you are coming and aren't asleep, they will usually move out of the way before you see them. You can also pitch stones ahead of you.

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Re: Rattlesnake Precautions

Post by Iggy » Fri Aug 21, 2009 4:10 pm

You may want to buy yourself some snake chaps, yes they are a little expensive but I think it's worth it, better then spending time in a hospital if you can get there soon enough. Don & I both have a pair. Just type snake chaps in Google, can't remember where we bought them.

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Re: Rattlesnake Precautions

Post by reptilist » Fri Aug 21, 2009 4:52 pm

When exploring by myself I've been wearing a pair of blue jean shorts under my bluejeans and a pair of "snakeproof" boots.
He has the boots. I have the boots too, but I am selling them...Don't really need snake proof boots if you are looking for them. The only times I have ever come close to being in danger were when I was working; not hiking/herping/exploring.

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Re: Rattlesnake Precautions

Post by Desert Cruiser » Fri Aug 21, 2009 4:55 pm

Your not Ron that's what this forum is all about. Staying aware if probably your most valuable asset. Linda and I photographed snakes at night for a long time and never came close to being bit. Repitilist does too!

There are two main reason to stay aware and not get bit -- one of course is pain and suffering.
Then the other is the cost. I may need correcting on this Terry. One vial of Crofab (anitvenim) was $1,000 and to
begin treatment they usally start with at least 10 vials and that could be as high as 40 vials. Now this doesn't include the
hospital stay or doctors either. An some medical insurances won't cover it. So you could be looking at a major
set back. This to me is a really good reason to keep an eye out for them.

Don....

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Re: Rattlesnake Precautions

Post by reptilist » Fri Aug 21, 2009 5:05 pm

I hate to beat the rattlesnake thing to death
Glad to hear that, I wish more people felt that way.

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Re: Rattlesnake Precautions

Post by Iggy » Fri Aug 21, 2009 5:11 pm

I 2nd that!

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Re: Rattlesnake Precautions

Post by spiny » Fri Aug 21, 2009 6:12 pm

I certainly hope I am never bitten, and I do sympathize with those who have been, but is it really all that dangerous out there? I've done a lot of hiking all over the country and have seen plenty of diamondbacks, timber rattlers, and copperheads, not to mention gila monsters, scorpions, and various nasty stinging insects, but staying aware of my surroundings has always been enough to keep me safe.

I was under the impression (correct me if I'm wrong, Reptilist) that most (but I know, not all) snake bites are the result of showing off and enjoying a bit too much to drink. It's different if venomous snakes are lurking around the house, and I would want them relocated, but it's never occured to me to worry about them while out hiking or camping. Same goes for mountain lions. I'm wouldn't want to live in a world so sanitized that all risk is absent.

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Re: Rattlesnake Precautions

Post by reptilist » Fri Aug 21, 2009 6:15 pm

I couldn't agree with you more Spiny! On all counts.
I started hiking the Arizona deserts and herping when I was 13. By 15 I was spending weeks at a time out there, and when I was 17 I lived in the desert in a tent for 6 months....Never had snake proof anything back then, slept on the ground more often then not too...I saw one mountain lion, no doubt there were a few that saw me, but I'm still here in one piece. Sometimes I carried a .22 rifle to kill food with, but I never did worry about becoming food for anything else.

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Re: Rattlesnake Precautions

Post by ElPaso2008 » Fri Aug 21, 2009 8:53 pm

reptilist wrote:1. Sometimes they hang on for a second or two. An agitated snake is more likely to give you a bigger dose than merely a surprised snake...But that is not a hard and fast rule, some are just so fearful of you that they will intend to kill you...But in roughly a quarter of all snakebites, little or no venom is injected.
2. Gloves are minimal protection, but better than nothing. If you were bitten through a glove, the extra material will help prevent a deeper injection of toxins. If you are climbing, you better watch where you put your hands. They also use their eyes...movement especially. You are more likely to be bitten from the ankle on down regardless of their heat sensoring ability.
3. On the average, a bitten person has about 6 hours until life threatening symptoms begin to appear....No need to panic, but no time to dawdle either. Movement of the stricken limb, allergic reaction, propensity towards shock, general healthiness and other factors will affect that time.
4. Carry a walking stick and poke it forward. Walk heavy, if they feel you are coming and aren't asleep, they will usually move out of the way before you see them. You can also pitch stones ahead of you.
Thanks, Terry. After wandering around up there yesterday and having seen the Black Tail I realized this isn't some book I'm reading. It's as real as it gets. I love the walking stick idea.

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