Snake season 2012.

9:20 a.m. on April 20, 2012 (EDT)
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So I was just messaged by a buddy of mine that was up on the mountain near the trail I spend most of my time on and he told me that there are a massive amount of snakes this year.

On the bike trail in Ohiopyle he counted at least 50 of varying species(venomous/non-venomous.)

Alot of Rattlesnakes and Copperheads. 

I personally am more worried the latter of the 2 being they really don't do much of anything to make you aware of their presence. I accidentally grabbed a Copperhead years back on a rock ledge I was messing around on and the ending result wasn't positive.

But I have been lucky for quite sometime.

Lets see if I can make it another season w/o taking a trip to the ER.

Definitely have to be more cautious when I am travelling on foot this year.

The dramatic increase in snake population this year in our ridges is something that I have heard from others as well. 

Anyone else out there noticing a number spike in their area in regards to our "no legged friends?"

12:51 p.m. on April 20, 2012 (EDT)
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Re: Snake seasons 2012.

This is the time of year when I start to see snake babies in my back yard, and in my pool, but really no more than usual.

These guys down here actually follow me around when I'm doing yard work.

 Apparently, when I'm trimming bushes, plants or what not, I cause the lizards to scatter and the snakes make sure to be right there.

We get 'em all here in the tropical suburbs - everything from water moccosins, eastern diamond backs, coral, king, rat snakes, coach whips,  but the majority are black racers.

 

On my 2 day backpacking trip last March, I only saw one snake - a 12" grass snake.

1:11 p.m. on April 20, 2012 (EDT)
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Re: Snake seasons 2012.

Not yet, but it's still warming up at the higher elevation spots near me. It'll be hard to tell though because we have lots and lots of those two varieties in East Tennessee. (the Smokies and Unicoi's in particlular are full of Rattlesnakes)

 

I agree that the Copper Heads are the greater danger because you can walk right up on the them and not know it until it's too late. (The copperheads tend to sit still while the rattle snakes let you know they are there and almost always try to get away from you.) They also always seem to be coiled in a postion from which they can strike. 

 

Good word of caution Rick...

1:16 p.m. on April 20, 2012 (EDT)
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Re: Snake seasons 2012.

Any snake that can break the flesh/draw blood can be classified as "dangerous" because of the bacteria that they carry in their mouth/saliva. 

If this bacteria can get into your blood stream you can be in big trouble and not even realize it during the initial bite.

1:28 p.m. on April 20, 2012 (EDT)
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Re: Snake seasons 2012.

So have you been bitten? So far so good for me despite a handful of encounters every year.

  

Two years ago, while coming down the Anthony Creek trail in the Smokies, I was moving pretty quick but my eyes were up in the trees (looking for bear actually) and I blew right by an enormous timber rattler! It’s body was bigger than my forearm and about three feet long. I came within probably 18 inches of its head and didn’t realize until I passed it. Luckily for me it didn’t move. I had learned from a ranger program that when they lay there lay like despite close proximity to a human that probably means they have just eaten and are digesting.

It still made me feel pretty stupid for not watching where I was putting my feet.

 

 

1:31 p.m. on April 20, 2012 (EDT)
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Re: Snake seasons 2012.

Yeah, I got nailed by a Copperhead years back. Not a fun experience. Sometimes you can get lucky with a dry bite but I wasn't on that side of the fence.

2:50 p.m. on April 20, 2012 (EDT)
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Re: Snake seasons 2012.


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RattlerBob.jpg

3:06 p.m. on April 20, 2012 (EDT)
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Re: Snake seasons 2012.

Rick-Pittsburgh said:

Any snake that can break the flesh/draw blood can be classified as "dangerous" because of the bacteria that they carry in their mouth/saliva. 

If this bacteria can get into your blood stream you can be in big trouble and not even realize it during the initial bite.

 Not at all looking to rebuff your comment, as due caution should certainly be given when handling any snake (and all wild animals), but I think the warnings of likely infection are often far overstated. I've been bitten a couple dozen of times by non venomous snakes, and none of them resulted in even the slightest infection. But that is just personal experience, maybe its a fluke. The larger reason I hold the opinion stems from not being aware of any actual instances of the purported dire infections. I may be wrong, but I doubt the statistics reveal significantly higher risk than from the bite of any animal.

Bill, are you aware of any real data on the topic? 

3:09 p.m. on April 20, 2012 (EDT)
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Re: Snake seasons 2012.

But to be more on topic, I haven't seen a notably higher number of snakes out than normal so far this year. 

3:14 p.m. on April 20, 2012 (EDT)
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Re: Snake seasons 2012.

I just wanted to post that as a warning for the possibility more than anything(try to keep folks from playing with them.)

There have been times that I got whacked by black snakes etc and I haven't gotten sick. I just don't think its worth the risk unless one is properly trained to handle these critters.

Snakes are beautiful creatures, as long as they are respected. 

Here is a PDF that you can take a look at:

http://informahealthcare.com/doi/abs/10.3109/15563657908989875

This may cover what you are looking for as well(look under the TNF ad:)

http://www.tandurust.com/health-faq-3/snake-bite-treatment.html

Here is a quote from the previous link:

"The snakes saliva and fang may harbor bacteria’s  like clostridium tetanus, and other harmful bacterias which may be risky if not treated."




3:34 p.m. on April 20, 2012 (EDT)
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Re: Snake seasons 2012.

gonzan said:

Rick-Pittsburgh said:

Any snake that can break the flesh/draw blood can be classified as "dangerous" because of the bacteria that they carry in their mouth/saliva. 

If this bacteria can get into your blood stream you can be in big trouble and not even realize it during the initial bite.

 Not at all looking to rebuff your comment, as due caution should certainly be given when handling any snake (and all wild animals), but I think the warnings of likely infection are often far overstated. I've been bitten a couple dozen of times by non venomous snakes, and none of them resulted in even the slightest infection. But that is just personal experience, maybe its a fluke. The larger reason I hold the opinion stems from not being aware of any actual instances of the purported dire infections. I may be wrong, but I doubt the statistics reveal significantly higher risk than from the bite of any animal.

Bill, are you aware of any real data on the topic? 

 

I would have to agree with gonzan. For many years I raised boas and pythons and have been bitten dozens and dozens of times with a couple being serious enough to have to have other people help me unwind the snake from my arm/leg and pry off their mouths with screwdrivers. A simple disinfecting/wash of the site in my experience was quite sufficient and I never experienced any infections. None of these bites were from venomous snakes. One obviously wants to keep an eye on the wound like any other until healed and seek medical attention if they feel something is wrong

 

3:39 p.m. on April 20, 2012 (EDT)
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Re: Snake seasons 2012.

Those are house kept pets fed with feeder rats, and they drink clean water.

I owned boas too but my wife is not too keen on me having a 9+ ft snake so no more snakes for me.

You have to keep in mind that snakes in the wild are consuming wild animals that maybe infected with all kinds of different diseases and are subjected to all kinds of things such as contaminated(stagnant) water sources which are a breeding ground for bacteria, etc. 

All of which can be ingested to get into the snakes system from eating/drinking.

My main worry with the larger snakes(albino, a Rainbow, & a Red Tail) I owned(my albino was a trigger happy nut) was a tooth embedded in the bite area. 

Pets are in more of a controlled environment and not subjected to the conditions/bacteria that their wild siblings are.

 

3:55 p.m. on April 20, 2012 (EDT)
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Re: Snake seasons 2012.

Hmmm. The first link is to an article that requires you to purchase a site subscription. Even more curious is that an ostensibly medical report is referring to them as "nonpoisonous" which is incorrect nomenclature. 

Toxin - any substance that causes biological damage
Poison - a toxin that is operates through ingestion or absorption
Venom - a toxin that is administered by a specialized delivery system, most often injection. 

3:56 p.m. on April 20, 2012 (EDT)
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Re: Snake seasons 2012.

 I did see a fellow get bitten by a non-venomous black snake once and he went into shock. He started stumbling around like he was drunk and became somewhat non-responsive. He was actually leading a group of scouts on a backpacking trip.

It turns out after he laid down for a while with his feet up he was OK, but for a while there it was scary and very strange. Myself and the few other adults on hand were all sure it was not a poisonous snake so we were left to conclude it was a psychological stress reaction. Our theory seemed to be backed-up by the fact the he was Ok after resting for a couple of hours.

Funky huh?

 

nice pics OGBO

4:12 p.m. on April 20, 2012 (EDT)
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Re: Snake seasons 2012.

Patman said:

... it was not a poisonous snake so we were left to conclude it was a psychological stress reaction. 

 This is actually not that unusual. It is a type  Psychological Shock.
There are a percentage of people who legitimately have a pathological fear of snakes (Ophidiophobia). Unfortunately, there is a much higher percentage of people who are simply hold an irrational fear of snakes that has been fostered and inflated by misinformation and reinforced by others. 

It is much like when a child bumps their head lightly, or some other small thing, but they become upset so abjectly that they end up not able to breath.  

There are few topics around which there is as much erroneous info and unfounded fear as snakes. I just want to be part of the solution to that hysteria :)

4:17 p.m. on April 20, 2012 (EDT)
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Start at the 2nd paragraph down:

http://www.ask.com/wiki/Snakebite

Here is a quote from the link:

"Bites from non-venomous snakes can also cause injury, often due to lacerations caused by the snake's teeth, or from a resulting infection. A bite may also trigger an anaphylactic reaction, which is potentially fatal."

My theory is this. 

A snakes mouth is dark, damp, and moist(which is needed for bacterial growth.)

Now snakes in the wild(or anywhere else for that matter) do not brush their teeth, nor do they use Listerine. Plus they are not very selective in regards to what they eat.

Now if you combine this with the consumption of let's say a rat that may have a sore somewhere on its body(or any other infection) the blood and bodily fluids(as well as bacteria)of said prey will be present in the snakes mouth during ingestion.

Remember dark, damp, and moist(incubator for bacteria.) 

Now said snake bites you and the snakes saliva gets into your blood stream.

Next thing ya know you have a nasty infection due to a foreign substance(snake saliva + bacteria) was not only introduced to the bite area but also your blood stream. 

4:19 p.m. on April 20, 2012 (EDT)
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Rick-Pittsburgh said:

"Bites from non-venomous snakes can also cause injury, often due to lacerations caused by the snake's teeth, or from a resulting infection. A bite may also trigger an anaphylactic reaction, which is potentially fatal."

 This is true, but I am pretty certain that the purely external pathological risk is not notably greater than with any other wild animal. I could be wrong, and if so would welcome conclusive research data either way. 

The emotionally and psychologically predicated aspect is a contributing factor, which is why I feel educating others about snakes and dispelling the myths and fear is so important.

I think we're all on the same chapter if not the same page on this one :) 

4:34 p.m. on April 20, 2012 (EDT)
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I agree. I just think the potential for a bad time is there and for the most part its just better safe than sorry. 

I found out not so long ago that I am allergic to shrimp although I ate them growing up with absolutely no trouble then one day I slammed down a few peel n eat beauties and I looked like Eddie Murphy when he was turning back into Sherman Klump(Nutty Professor.) 

When a foreign substance is introduced to the human body there is always the potential for something to go wrong when one is in an uncontrolled environment.

I think the best approach (as we say so often) is to "err on the side of caution."

I love snakes. I also agree 100% with you that education is key. Snakes are a beneficial part of our ecosystem. 

But regardless of the species they command our respect(especially the Yellow Ring neck :)

We are travelling through their home not ours.

7:27 p.m. on April 20, 2012 (EDT)
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I can't say I have seen more snakes, but I started seeing them earlier this year.

In my area I see Cottonmouths the most, Timber Rattlers occasionally, and Copperheads rarely.

Oddly enough the coastal Cottonmouths we have here are quite dark in color, I would describe it as charcoal to light black. The same goes for the color of the Eastern Toads compared to those I have seen in the Piedmont or in the Mountains.

I don't know if it is diet, climate, or what.

In wetland / swampy areas I wear only FGL boots with snake chaps and pay very close attention to what I'm doing....obviously.

I don't worry about it much but I think it makes sense to be careful and take reasonable precautions as dictated by the area I'm in.

Mike G.

September 2, 2014
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