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How deadly is the rattlesnake?


There is much exaggeration when it comes to snakes! While the rattler is defined as a venomous and deadly reptile, it is a combination of facts that truly place him in a position where we can better understand this definition. A large specimen of the common Western Diamondback may actually contain enough hemotoxic venom to destroy the lives of a number of adult humans. However, it is also an observed fact that most older, larger snakes tend to be less aggressive and often strike only when actively provoked. They can also control their venom flow and usually hold this back somewhat, rarely fully using what may be present. This would help to account for the extremely low fatality rate in human bites when compared to total number of these unfortunate bites. Some years in heavy snake populated areas have resulted in death rates well below one tenth of one percent of all bites! Such a sometimes almost negligible level should not be seen as an open invitation to disregard the danger, pain, and suffering which even a small rattler can inflict! The bite is very painful and alarming, and it can cause extensive tissue damage in the local area. With so many variables involved in each unique bite situation, there is no simple formula to apply about the danger. Typically, the smaller the body mass (young child), the more danger. The faster the metabolic rate and circulation, the more potential for damage. The more of an allergic reaction or negative side effects, the more damaging the bite. The more envenomation, obviously the more potential for damage and pain. In the same light, the more effective the first aid, the less likely the negative damage. And so on, until we see that the factors may be played out endlessly when it comes to a victim and the bite characteristics. The best medicine, as usual, is the sum total of preventive measures to avoid the bite situational conditions! Be aware of environmental and behavioral specifics going on around you and the bite scene is truly minimized! Still, unfounded fear is not a good continued answer for avoiding a bite!

Happy Trails!



Authored by CONCISE COMMUNICATIONS. This page last updated on 05/28/97.
Copyright 1997 CONCISE COMMUNICATIONS & TNE, Inc. All rights reserved.
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