Minimizing Conflict With Venomous Snakes

As hot weather engulfs the area, expect to see more snakes, which includes rattlesnakes.  The eastern diamondback and the pigmy are the most common in this area.  Snakes like all reptiles are exothermic and depend on the warmth of the day to maintain their body temperature and stimulate digestive activity.  They are the most recognizable venomous snakes and have a long-storied history. These snakes, which are found only in North and South America, are subject of much fear and misunderstanding. Although they play an important role in the environment, they are best known for their venomous bite.

They are among the top predators in the habitat where found, influencing populations of rodents and other mammals.  Pests such as rats and mice, which have potential to spread disease and damage crops and stores of food can be eaten at a rate of 20-30 a year by a single snake.  The diamond back is unique to the southeast and is the largest species of rattlesnake in the world.

By studying venom (poison transmitted through a bite), researchers hope to discover medical breakthroughs with implication for humans.  Several successes include the blood pressure medicine Catopril, and Integrilin which is used to treat acute coronary syndrome.

Watch your hands and your steps. Keep your distance, 6 feet. A snake not being harassed is not likely to bite you.  Most snake bites occur in attempts to capture or kill.  Don’t wear sandals in snake habitat.  Teach your children how to identify and avoid venomous snakes.  Each year about 8,000 people are bitten by venomous snakes in the U.S.  However, between 1960 and 1990, no more than 12 people died in a single year. If bitten stay calm and seek medical attention immediately.