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By Teresa Bigham/The Hesperian-Beacon—
LOCKNEY – The chances of actually dying from a rattlesnake’s venomous bite are very slim, according to Texas Parks and Wildlife.
About 7,000 people are bitten by some type of rattle snake in Texas every year. Only .2 percent of these bites are fatal. On average in Texas one to two die each year from rattlesnake bites.
You have likely heard the distinctive buzz of these creatures. Their rattle is a highly effective warning sign, signaling predators to stay away. Did you know that rattlesnakes also hiss, a second element of warning?
The rattlesnakes one functional lung has relatively large air capacity and as the snake hisses, its body swells up, according to Texas Parks and Wildlife. Snakes are deaf to airborne sounds, so the hiss is only a warning for animals that can hear and not a means of communication with other snakes.
Rattlesnakes can range from one to eight feet, depending on the species. They are thick-bodied snakes with ridged scales. They have heat-sensing facial pits, hinged fangs that produce venom, and they have live births.
According to the National Wildlife Federation, rattlesnakes have another distinctive physical feature other than the rattle sound it makes, it’s their triangular head. Here’s another fact, rattlesnakes have vertical pupils, like cat eyes, but I for one will not be getting close enough to a rattlesnake to see if that’s true.
In addition to rattling and hissing, rattlesnakes exhibit other defensive behaviors. They may also coil their bodies and raise their heads off the ground in a defensive posture.
Rattlesnakes live in a variety of environments. They can be found in desert like sand areas, grasslands, scrub brush and rocky hills. When in cooler climates they will hibernate in the winter.
Rattlesnakes rarely bite unless they feel threatened or provoked. Should you or someone you are with happens to get bitten by a rattlesnake here are first aid procedures you should follow.
- Keep the victim calm, still and quiet.
- Remove any rings or constricting items and clothing as the affected area may swell.
- Allow the bite to bleed freely for 15-30 seconds before cleaning.
- Create a loose split to help restrict movement of the area.
- Contact medical help as soon as possible
- Monitor the persons vital signs – temperature, pulse, rate of breathing and blood pressure.
- Attempt to identify the snake or only if can be done safely, bring in the dead snake. Do not waste time hunting for the snake and do not risk another bite if it is not easy to kill the snake.