Rattlesnake encounters rise with warm weather
Web Producer: Janice Yu
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - As the weather warms up, rattlesnakes and other reptiles come out of hibernation.
The Arizona Poison and Drug Information Center sees an increase in snake bite victims during the month of April. The center is a unit of the University of Arizona College of Pharmacy.
The center has helped hospitals treat four snakebite victims this year. The most recent incident occurred on April 8, near Oro Valley.
Last year, the center assisted with 124 snakebites between April and September.
The only way to counter the effects of a snake bite is with anti-venom. Anti-venomis only available in hospital emergency departments.
"The only things you need in a snakebite first aid kit are your cell phone and car keys," says Keith Boesen, director of the poison center. "If you are bitten, try to keep calm and go to the nearest healthcare facility or call 911. Do not try any other first aid actions. They won't help and they may make your case worse."
All 17 species or subspecies of rattlesnakes in Arizona are venomous.
The public should keep the following in mind:
- Leave rattlesnakes alone. Fifty to 70 percent of reptiles bites were provoked by the victim, according to the center. If a snake is on your property, call as snake removal specialist or the local fire department.
- Be aware of where you put your hands and feet during outdoor activities. Hands and feet should be kept out of crevices in rocks or wood piles.
- Install outdoor lights for yards, porches and sidewalks. Snakes are more active at night.
- Dead snakes can bite. Reflex strikes with injected venom can occur for several hours after death.
For assistance with poisoning, call the center for free 24/7 advice at 1-800-222-1222.