Five things to know about rattlesnakes and their babies

August 7, 2014 by Shelley Littin
A horned rattlesnake exhibits its infamous defensive rattle at the end of its tail.

(Phys.org) —Arguably, snake season is year-round in Arizona, a state known for its rattlers. But baby rattlesnakes are born in July and August, making these two months especially dangerous for hikers, gardeners, children and others at high risk of exposure to rattlesnake bites.

So far this year, 74 rattlesnake bites to humans have been reported to the Arizona Poison and Drug Information Center. Based at the University of Arizona College of Pharmacy, the center serves the entire state of Arizona with the exception of Maricopa County, providing free and confidential poison and medication information to callers around the clock.

Specialists answering the phones at the center regularly receive calls from Arizonans of all ages who don't realize they were bitten by a rattler. The poison center urges anyone who feels a mysterious sting, pinch or bite while outdoors to immediately call the center at 800-222-1222.

"We will ask a few questions that will help you either identify possible snakebite or eliminate it," said Keith Boesen, director of the Arizona Poison and Drug Information Center. "With snakebite, the sooner the medical treatment, the better the outcome, so calling us right away can make a very big difference for the victims and the medical teams treating them."

Puncture marks indicate the rattlesnake bite on the heel of a 9-year-old.

The center advises anyone who might come cross paths with rattlesnakes to be aware of these five things:

1 | Baby rattlesnakes range in length from 6 to 12 inches and are easily camouflaged by brush and grass.

2 | Baby rattlesnakes are rattleless until they first shed their skins, so there will be no infamous "chica-chica" sound before they strike.

3 | Despite their impish size, baby snakes have enough venom to be very dangerous if they bite a human.

4 | Adult do not always rattle an audible warning before or while they are biting.

5 | It's a good idea to call the poison center if you notice an unidentified small cut or wound, even if you feel no pain. With the lack of telltale rattle warning, people can be bitten without knowing what has happened until they notice their symptoms and attribute them to a snakebite.

Explore further: Poisoning is the top cause of unintentional death in the US

Related Stories

Poisoning is the top cause of unintentional death in the US

March 19, 2014
When one thinks of accidental deaths due to substances, overdoses probably come to mind – such as methamphetamine, heroine or cocaine. But in the United States, more people die of acetaminophen overdoses than anything else. ...

Don't let the warm weather leave you snakebitten

May 25, 2014
(HealthDay)—The arrival of warm weather means that snakes will be making their appearance, so you should take steps to prevent snakebites, an expert says.

Around two queries a week to UK poisons service concern... snakebites

December 19, 2012
Snakebite injuries account for around two phone queries every week to the UK National Poisons Information Service, indicates an audit published online in Emergency Medicine Journal.

Recommended for you

In a nutshell: Walnuts activate brain region involved in appetite control

August 17, 2017
Packed with nutrients linked to better health, walnuts are also thought to discourage overeating by promoting feelings of fullness. Now, in a new brain imaging study, researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) ...

Energy dense foods may increase cancer risk regardless of obesity status

August 17, 2017
Diet is believed to play a role in cancer risk. Current research shows that an estimated 30% of cancers could be prevented through nutritional modifications. While there is a proven link between obesity and certain types ...

Technology is changing Generation smartphone, and not always for the better

August 16, 2017
It's easy to imagine some graybeard long ago weighing in on how this new generation, with all its fancy wheels, missed out on the benefits of dragging stuff from place to place.

The environmental injustice of beauty

August 16, 2017
Women of color have higher levels of beauty-product-related chemicals in their bodies compared to white women, according to a commentary published today in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. The authors say ...

Heavily used pesticide linked to breathing problems in farmworkers' children

August 15, 2017
Elemental sulfur, the most heavily used pesticide in California, may harm the respiratory health of children living near farms that use the pesticide, according to new research led by UC Berkeley.

Taking a stand on staying mobile after 80

August 14, 2017
(HealthDay)—If you want to stay as fit as possible well into your 80s, the answer may be as simple as standing on your own two feet.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.