April showers brings WHAT??? Not only May flowers but. . . the Sneaky Snakes
Did you know there are snakes all over the world except Antarctica? – There are 2900 different species of snakes at that. Luckily only 140 different types live in the United States and 36 of those live in the state of Arkansas and a mere six of those are poisonous. The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission has a great guide for those species and statistics here. (http://www.agfc.com/resources/publications/ar_snakes.pdf)
Snake bites can happen when you have different types around and do you know what to do if a snake bit does happen? Well, prevention is the best thing to keep the snakes out of your yard. . . I have a friend convinced that her fence keeps those snakes at bay but is there truth to that statement or is she convinced a barbed wire fence will keep the slinkiest of vermin out?
This is what the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission has to say about keeping snakes out of your yard: During the warm months, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission receives many calls from the public about how to prevent the presence of snakes on their property. Several commercial products claim to repel snakes, although none has been shown to be effective. Many people put out sulfur powder or mothballs but the most this might do is kill a few insects for a short period of time. To reduce the likelihood of snakes occurring in and around your home, yard or outbuildings, we recommend a few simple “housekeeping” chores.
- Keep lawn and surrounding grounds mowed short and trim around all building foundations. Snakes do not like to move over open ground, which makes them vulnerable to predators.
- Remove piles of logs, brush, rocks or other debris on the ground. This provides cover for snakes and the animals that snakes feed on. If you reduce the presence of cover and food, then you reduce the potential presence of snakes!
- Make sure your home is well-sealed. Replace worn weather stripping around doors. Use caulk, mortar or spray foam in a can to seal up cracks in the foundation and around plumbing, heating/ cooling and electrical ducts.
- Minimize mulch and low-growing flower or plant beds immediately around the house. These can provide cover for snakes and the animals that snakes feed on.
If you live in the country, with nearby natural habitat, the potential for snakes to be around your home and outbuildings is increased, so be prepared for possible snake encounters. Urban dwellers have the least likelihood of encountering snakes.
So . . . . what if you did all the above and still come in contact with a snake and it happens to bite you?
This is what the American Red Cross says about certain snake bites in regards to the lay responder CPR/First Aid training class.
Venomous Snake Bites
Venomous snakes found in the United States include rattlesnakes, copperheads, cottonmouths (water moccasins) and coral snakes. Prompt medical care significantly reduces the likelihood of dying from a venomous snake bite. Most deaths from venomous snake bites occur because the person had an allergic reaction to the venom or is in poor health, or because too much time passed before he or she received medical care.
Signs and Symptoms of Venomous Snake Bites
Signs and symptoms of a possibly venomous snakebite include a pair of puncture wounds and localized redness, pain and swelling in the area of the bite.
First Aid Care for Venomous Snake Bites
Call 9-1-1 or the designated emergency number immediately. If you are not sure whether the snake bite was caused by a venomous snake, call 9-1-1 or the designated emergency number anyway. Do not waste time trying to find and capture the snake for identification, and do not wait for life-threatening signs and symptoms of poisoning to appear.
Keep the injured area still and lower than the heart. The person should walk only if absolutely necessary. Wash the wound with soap and water; cover the bite with a clean, dry dressing; and then apply an elastic (pressure immobilization) bandage to slow the spread of the venom through the lymphatic system, to control swelling and to provide support. To apply an elastic bandage:
- Check the skin on the side of the bite farthest away from the heart for feeling, warmth and color.
- Place the end of the bandage against the skin, beginning at the point farthest from the heart.
- To cover a long body section, such as an arm or calf, use overlapping turns and gently stretch the bandage as you wrap. To cover a joint, such as the knee or ankle, use overlapping figure-eight turns to support the joint (Figure 7-2).
- Check the snugness of the bandage—it should be snug but you should be able to slide a finger easily underneath it.
- Check again for feeling, warmth and color, especially in the fingers and toes, after you have applied the elastic bandage. By checking before and after bandaging, you may be able to tell if any changes (e.g., tingling or numbness, cool or pale skin) are from the elastic bandage or the injury.
With the sun coming out and warmer days, we will see more and more of our little slithery friend so please take precaution when you are out and about in their territory.