Monday, May 22, 2017

Local reptile expert answers questions about rattlesnakes

Jason White of Ione is the founder of the Daily Reptile News,, on Facebook at: He took a few moments to answer some questions for ACN regarding rattlesnakes.

Carol Harper/ACN: Where do rattlesnakes usually live? What types of places should I avoid?

Jason: Rattlesnakes are abundant in pretty much any habitat you come across. They are most active in the morning and evening, and are known to become nocturnal during the hottest part of the year, as are the rest of the snakes in our area.
  I would not particularly caution anyone to avoid any one type of habitat, but rather stay observant. Always look before you step or place your hands...or any part of your body, for that matter.

Carol Harper/ACN: If I see a rattlesnake, coiled up with tail shaking, what should I do?

Jason: The best thing to do if you see one is to move away and leave it alone. They want nothing to do with us. Their venom is for procuring meals, not dealing with us. They are far more afraid of us than we are of them, but don't let them fool you, they can and will bite if provoked. 99% of all venomous snakebites worldwide occur because the snake was not left alone.
If there is a snake that simply cannot be left alone (i.e. a schoolyard), it is best to call someone trained to deal with them. The local [animal] shelter and/or the Department of Fish and Game should have contacts that are authorized and educated in their relocation.

Carol Harper/ACN: If I get bitten, what should I do? Where do I go?

Jason: The best thing to do if you get bitten is to stay calm, call 911 immediately. Rarely are rattlesnake bites fatal anymore, but it does happen. It is VERY important to stay calm. When a person it bitten, the venom travels in the blood. If you get worked up and get your heart pumping faster, the venom will travel faster.
While I have never had to use it, I am told our local hospital is well-equipped to deal with rattlesnake bites. However, if you are bitten, get ready to open your wallet. Crofab®, which is what they use to treat bites, is not cheap. I have seen it bounce between $1200 -$2300 per vial, wholesale, and needing 15-20 vials is not unheard of for a person that is unfortunate enough to be bitten.
  To recap in brief: If you see a snake, leave it alone. Call a professional. If bitten stay calm and call 911 immediately.


Amador County Animal Control
(209) 223-6378

Tri-County Wildlife:
(209) 283-3245

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