Wednesday, September 16, 2015

More Snakes I (An Article Revisited)


Since it's St. Patrick's Day, and I'm giving away The Dream Bucket, I'm reprinting a blog about snakes today.

A narrow sandy road curved around between one of our fields and a wooded area. All my childhood my brother Buddy and I observed the tracks of a very large snake that crossed the  road not always in the same place but close by.
iStock 03-20-14 © MarkNH

This picture is not in sand, but it's a snake similar to the one whose tracks we observed. We never saw the big rattlesnake who left the track, but we saw others. Buddy and our cousin Jerry Gregg collected rattlers.

According to, eastern diamondback rattlesnakes live about twenty years and grow to an average length of five feet, or may as long as eight feet. These snakes, which are very vicious and poisonous, may weigh as much as ten pounds.

Daddy, who never exaggerated,  said he'd studied that snake's tracks most of his life! When he was about seventy someone accidentally ran over the snake. A picture of my dad holding the dead snake appeared in the Taylorsville Signal. He held it as high as he could, and the snake's tail touched the ground.  

In The Dream Bucket, the Cameron family's loyal dog, King,wrestled with a rattlesnake. To tell  which one of them--the dog or the snake--survived would not be fair to those who haven't read it yet.
iStock 04-14-09 © azpworldwide

I'm sharing these emergency directions from a Wikipedia article: 

Emergency response[edit]

Data on the effectiveness of first aid techniques for rattlesnake bites are limited.[74] General recommendations for first aid in the field are:
  1. Remain calm and retreat from the snake at least 15 feet. Arrange to have the victim transported to a medical facility as soon as possible.[74]
  2. Remove restrictive clothing items (rings, bracelets, watches, buttoned shirts, etc.) from the victim.[74][75]
  3. Splint or otherwise immobilize any bitten limbs and keep them below heart level.[30][35][74][76] If (and only if) the victim is more than an hour away from a medical facility, place a lightly constricting band (that admits one finger beneath it) above the bitten area to prevent the systemic spread of the venom.[74]
  4. Keep victims calm; put them at rest; keep them warm and give them comfort and reassurance (which will lower their heart rate, slowing the spread of the venom). Keeping a victim's heart rate down, however, should never interfere with getting him or her to a medical facility.[74]
  5. If the snake is still present or nearby, try to get an accurate description by using a camera or remembering certain physical traits such as color, pattern, or length. This can help ensure the proper antivenom is administered. However, one should never put oneself at risk of being bitten to obtain this description.

In no case should tourniquets or incisions be used. Suction is likewise discouraged, as it is only potentially useful if the victim is at least an hour away from medical help and the procedure is started within 5 minutes of the bite, and it carries a risk of contaminating the wound (therefore the use of a commercial suction device is preferable.)


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