Warmer Weather Brings Scaly Visitors

SAL SNAKES PICNow that most schools are out and summer break has started, it’s time to remember that with the summer heat comes a danger that may be lurking in your backyard. They could slither up on anyone, and when you least expect it you could be a venomous snake’s next victim.

With more people roaming outdoors and enjoying the summer, it’s all too common for someone to run across a snake. Chad Phillips is an avid hunter, who sees a snake almost every time he heads into the woods.

“I have a lot of interaction with water moccasins, some interaction with timber rattlers, and of course, copperheads are very very common in this area too,” he says.

Phillips has found snakes in his hunting stands in trees, piles of brush and old wood, dead logs and even near streams and creeks. He advises to give the snake its space.

“Leave the snake alone,” he says. “Don’t try to catch the snake, don’t try to identify a snake, don’t try to kill a snake, just leave the snake alone.”

If you are bitten by a snake, paramedics say try to stay calm and keep your heart rate down. This will stop any venom from spreading through your system faster. Next, remove any tight clothing or jewelry from the bite site. They say the swelling could cut off circulation. Most importantly, do not try that old advice to get rid of the venom…

“Do not cut the wound, do not try and suck any of the venom out,” says Paramedic Michael Norman. “No tourniquets, don’t apply ice. That could actually, instead of helping it could actually further the injury.” Norman says by cutting the would even more, you can increase the chance of infection. And when you attempt to “suck out venom,” you really aren’t doing anything helpful.

“There’s no real benefit, from trying to cut it out,” he adds.

SAL SNAKES PIC 2If you’re bitten by a snake and you aren’t sure if it’s venomous or not, the best thing to do is head to the hospital anyway. Just don’t try to pack up the snake and bring it with you.

“You know, if you can, safely take a picture of it,” Norman says. “Or remember what color it was, or give a description of it to the ER or the ambulance that responds.”

The top three most common venomous snakes in Alabama are the Copperhead, Water Moccasin and the Timer Rattlesnake. The Copperhead is responsible for the most bites recorded in the state.

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