Monday, April 27, 2009

Watch Out for Snakes

Updated 3/2017-- all links (except to my own posts) removed as many no longer active. and it was easier than checking each one. 

This pass Friday evening, my dog Rusty woke up from his sleep and jump up startled. He had been sleeping in the doorway of the bedroom / living room. No bark. No yelp. Just a quick move. I got up to see what had startled him and was surprised to find a snake in my house! Here’s the picture I uploaded to twitpic.

This started quite a conversation on twitter as we tried to identify the snake. Robin (Survive the Journey) finally made the definitive identification-- western rat snake
staticnrg@rlbates cousin to the corn snake... check it out.
Two weeks ago I had found this snake while raking the yard. I identified it as a western worm snake. It didn’t bother me nearly as much, as it was not inside my home.

As the weather warms, it is time once again to watch out for snakes. Most (like the two above) are non-poisonous, but others aren’t. If you are bitten by a snake, here are a few tips from a review article at Medscape (Bites and Stings: Snake Bites).
First Aid in the field (or home) consists of:
  • Preventing systemic absorption of the toxin which may be done with compressive dressings and immobilization of the bitten extremity.
  • If signs of envenomation begin to occur, a constriction band to impede lymphatic flow should be placed on the extremity, proximal to the bite. Transport to a hospital should take place immediately.
  • The site should be wiped off and cleaned. The use of field first-aid methods such as incision and suction, tourniquets, and cryotherapy has been associated with a threefold increase in the likelihood of the need for surgical intervention.
  • Although popular belief has it that snakebites kill within minutes, in fact, the toxicity from snake venom usually does not even begin to affect the body for several hours. In one review, 64% of deaths from snakebite occurred between 6 and 48 hours after the patient was bitten.

Other posts
Snake Bites (July 17, 2008)


pacman said...

Whew... Its good that it didn't bit you. are they venomous? nurse line

rlbates said...

Fortunately not.

Chrysalis said...

E-uwwwww! As Indiana Jones would say, "I hate snakes!" Me too!

I may have some cool photos for you soon, Ramona. We may be adding to our family soon. :)

rlbates said...

I'll be looking for the pictures, CA!