SuperTalk Mississippi

Slither Your Way Out of a Snake Bite

JACKSON, Miss.- Snakes are starting to come out as weather starts to warm up. Avoid getting bit by knowing what to look for and where they may be hiding at. 

Deputy Director of the Jackson Zoo, Dave Wretzel said, “There’s a good chance that you already have a snake in your backyard somewhere. If you don’t want to get bit, don’t kill them. If you leave them alone they are likely to leave the area.”

Most snakes you’ll probably come into contact with will be nonvenomous. Typically snakes hide near lumber or piles of wood. Keeping your yard clean is critical to keeping snakes away. Being aware of your surroundings and what’s on the ground is a good way to avoid stepping on a snake.

“Snakes can strike from 1/3 to 2/3 of their body length. If you see a snake that’s three feet long, stay at least three feet away so you don’t get struck,” Wretzel mentioned.

A few ways to tell if a snake is venomous or not, is by the way its head looks. Most poisonous snakes have a diamond shaped head. You can also look at the pits in front of their eyes and they have heat sensors. Look at a field guide to give you a description of the types of snakes there are, especially in your area so you will know exactly what to look for. Typically where there is water and asphalt you may see more snakes.

Snake head up     snakes two

If bitten by a venomous snake get immediate help from a doctor. There’s about 200 people that get bit a year in Mississippi. Snakes are not all bad though. They play their role in the environment by eating rodents, termites and slugs and keeping the population of those creatures down.

Wretzel informed that, “If you do get bit in this country you’re very unlikely to die. Most hospitals carry antivenin and some doctors specialize in that. If you get bit in the wild while you’re by yourself, take off all rings , watches and jewelry so if you start to swell, blood circulation doesn’t get cut off. Put a circle around the bite to see if it’s starting to swell and spread on your body.”

Just because you were bit, does not necessarily mean you were injected with poison. They could have bit you as a dry bite, but a younger snake may bite you and inject all of its venom because they don’t know how to control it like an adult snake might.

If a snake is coiled up and starts rattling or hissing at you, that’s probably a good sign to back up and leave that snake alone. Be cautious of snakes as we enter into Spring and Summer and take the right steps of action if you do see one or get bit.

spotted snake         long snake

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