|Watch Out For Poisonous Snakes
Snakes are found almost everywhere on the North American continent, being
absent only from the most northerly areas.
While there are 115 species of snakes found throughout this region only
17 species are actually poisonous.
However, as the poison of these snakes can be deadly, it pays to be able
to identify those poisonous snakes that are found where you live or where you
will be camping or hiking, and to become familiar where they will be likely to
be located. While avoidance is the best
policy, it is also a good idea to know what to do in case you or someone with
you is bitten by a poisonous snake.
are found nearly everywhere in the United States. You can come upon them in New England, the
South, Midwest, Southwest, and Pacific Coast.
These are very dangerous snakes that will deliver a potent venom. These snakes are members of the pit viper family,
and deliver their venom by means of two large fangs. These snakes can be found in woodlands,
mountains, prairies, and deserts. They
will announce their presence by shaking the rattles found at the end of their
tail. Back away immediately if you hear
this. These snakes, especially the
western diamondback rattlesnake, can be aggressive, and will sometimes attack
are generally found in watery environments, especially in the southern
states. They are thick-bodied and can
reach lengths of over 6 feet. Their
poison is extremely potent, and a bite from one of these can be fatal,
especially if delivered on the upper chest or throat. Cottonmouth snakes will not retreat if
approached, but will open their mouth, displaying the white lining.
east of the Mississippi River (except for the northern areas) is where the
copperhead lives. These are snakes that
are often found in rocky areas in wooded regions. The mottled pattern of the snake’s scales
blends in very well with the forest floor, and they can be difficult to
spot. Fortunately they are not as
aggressive as other poisonous snakes and will generally retreat if you get near
it. The poison this snake contains is
not as dangerous as that of rattlesnakes and cottonmouths, and will often be
painful rather than life-threatening.
belong in the family that includes cobras, and should be considered very
dangerous reptiles. The two species
found in the U.S. live in the Atlantic and Gulf Coast regions and in Arizona. These snakes are beautifully colored in
bands of white, red, and black and resemble several harmless species. To tell them apart, keep in mind the rhyme,
“Red and black, friend of Jack; Red and yellow, kill a fellow.”
must be sought immediately when someone has been bitten by a poisonous
snake. While waiting for the ambulance,
you can help by keeping the person calm, as being excited will cause the blood
to circulate more quickly. Loosen
clothing, but do not cut the wound with a razor or try to suck out the venom
with your mouth. There are some
snakebite kits that will help to remove the venom, but should be looked on only
as an emergency measure until professional help is available.