As summer is starting to heat up, I wanted to make a post about rattlesnakes and address some common misconceptions about them. First, I want to say that snakes are not inherently evil, they are fascinating animals just living their lives like so many others critters that we love and respect. I encountered this beautiful specimen on a class field trip. After politely posing for a short photo shoot with the class (all the while remaining calm and never once striking or rattling) he decided to go have a nap and quietly slid away—this is what rattlesnakes prefer to do, go the opposite direction of humans. But let me lay some facts on ya!
You may have heard that babies are more dangerous as they cannot control their venom but this is actually not backed up by any studies and one study actually showed that juveniles are very capable of controlling and thus limiting their venom delivery. Dr. Johnson at University of Florida says ~20-25% of bites are “dry bites” meaning no venom is injected. Also, bites are not as common as many think, the CDC reports ~7000-8000 people/yr are bitten in the entire country and only 5-6 people/yr will die from bites. That means you are nine times more likely to die from being struck by lightning than from a rattlesnake! Studies show that 28% of bite victims are intoxicated from alcohol, 85% of bites occur on the fingers and hands, and the majority of victims are males from age 17-27 (likely trying to show off).
Bottom line is: If you encounter a rattlesnake or a snake you don’t recognize, never try to pick it up!
1st pic: Northern Pacific Rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus oreganus)
2nd pic: Juvenile Red Diamond Rattlesnake (Crotalus ruber)
For some more info on rattlesnake identification, avoidance, and bite protocols, check out the links below:
#snake #wildlifeeducation #savetheplanet