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First aid for snake bites - lets discuss what kind of snake this is and what the first aid should be.

Location - Jasper, Texas
Date - september 19th, 2009

While on a hiking trip with my step son, my son and I, we found this snake along a creek.

 

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Water moccasin.
Be calm. Apply a bandage but not too tight.
Walk out if you are alone.
If not alone and you are not the one bitten, immobilize the limb bitten and go get help for them.
No cutting.
No sucking.
 

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Old one but applicable.

2 guys go out in the field and one is bitten in the crotch by a rattler.

The other guy calls into town on his cell phone and gets ahold of the local Dr.

"Doc, Bob got bit in the crotch by a rattler, what do I do?"

Doc says, "You are going to have to suck out the poison."

The bitten friend looks over at his buddy on the phone and asks, "What is the Doc saying?"

"He says you are going to die."
 

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My first guess was a rattle snake because of the shape of the head and the way it was coiled up . But the dark color , and the fact it was near water says , maybe a water mocassin .
In the northeast we have the eastern diamondback rattler . It is has a heavy body and dark color , something like the pic. They are very rare - endangered .
I agree with brother buck's first aid advice .
Edit ; Took a closer look at the picture , tip of tail looked too thin for rattles .
 

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Yup. That's a big fat moccasin alright. Dangerous, but very rarely lethal.

There isn't a whole lot to be done in the field for snakebite unless you happen to have some antivenin handy. Even then, using it is not a clear call. Snake venom is expensive to produce and the snake doesn't want to waste it on something it can't eat. Even if it does envenomate, it won't take effect in time to do the snake any good, so many snake bites are dry. Sheep based antivenin has about a 10% or less serum sickness rate while horse based product has 20-50%, based on the amount used. By drawing a circle around the area of inflamation every 15 minutes you can track it's spread. If it doesn't spread very far, it isn't severe.

You can try a Sawyer Extraction Kit but there's a bit of controversy over it. There were some dead pig studies that indicated it wasn't effective but they were so poorly done I gave them no weight. I read something about simulated snakebite studies on live human thighs showing it was ineffective but don't know the details. Sawyer returned with the assertion that the kit wasn't meant for deep muscle bites but rather for shallower bites of the hands, wrist, feet and ankles. Whether it works on a particlar snake bite may depend entirely on how deep the puncture is and where. May also depend on whether you apply it immediately or wait a minute like they did in the pig study. I don't know. There is plenty of anedotal evidence that it does work very well on insect stings.

Keep the patient relaxed and prone. Try to keep the bite below the level of the heart in a relaxed and comfortable position. There is controversy over applying a loose constriction bandage betwen the bite and the heart. Yes, you will slow the flow of venom to the entire body but it is not clear that is always a good thing. You are also keeping the venom concentrated at the entry area which means more local damage. Spreading the venom dilutes it.

Treat for shock and perform first aid as you would on any serious puncture would.

You want to remove any rings, jewelry or clothing around the affected limb. If the bite is severe, the extremity can swell up 2 or 3 times its normal size. Whoever is in best shape should run like heck to the nearest location emergency aid can be summoned from. If that isn't practical, make a big smokey fire and hope the fire deprtment comes to you.

Snake Envenomation, Moccasins: eMedicine Emergency Medicine
 

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Not a rattlesnake but in the same family, pit vipers. That all have that distinctive head. Takes the same antivenin. Antivenin Crotalidae Polyvalent (from horses) and Crotaline Fab antivenin (from sheep).
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
Isnt it a copperhead? :xeye:
Copperheads rarely get over 2 feet long, and no thicker on about 1/2 - 3/4 inch, and are a copper color instead of black.

Copperheads have a small head for eating insects, as compared to the cotton mouths larger head for eating bull frogs and anything else.

Copperheads mostly bite around the toes and fingers - this is because they have a small head and bite where they can get a good grip. Most bites from copperheads are from people picking them up and handling them. This might also be why most bites are on the fingers or toes. Toes from people stepping on the small snake, and fingers from people picking them up.

During the fall the copper color of the copperhead blends in with brown leaves on the forest floor. So its easy for people not to see them.

Cotton mouths have a head big enough to grab onto your leg, your arm,,, just about anywhere.

Most of the time copperheads will be found under a log, under a piece of tin, under a piece of plywood, or next to a log. In other words they like to get under stuff. I think it might be because hawks and other large birds eat copperheads, but I'am not sure on that.

On the other hand, large cottonmouths will layout on tops of logs, rocks and stumps.

The snake in the video is a medium sized cottonmouth, I have seen them a lot larger then that. One cottonmouth my buddies and I killed and measured - it was close to 4 feet long and as big around as a mans wrist.

The Cottonmouth Water Moccasin can be easily confused with a water snake. They have almost the same exact color pattern. One has a round head and the other has a diamond shaped head.

From what I have noticed, you have a good chance of finding a Cottonmouth Water Moccasin where there is still, standing, shallow water - like a bog or a slew. That is because of the frogs. Frogs like shallow water with mud so they can hide. The snakes will get up on the banks and wait to ambush the frogs.

Even though these are cold blooded reptiles, I have seen them swim short distances in very cold water during the early spring months.
 

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As long as you got 'em by the neck, your just fine! Actually, I thought this was Nancy Pelosi trespassing on my property. When I realized it was just a rattlesnake, I threw it in the pond.

I never harm them unless they are near the dwellings, woodpiles, etc. They are beneficial to me as they keep the vermin in check.

I always was intrigued by the "stun-gun/electrical shock" treatment for snakebites, but never came to a decision on that--lot's on both sides of that issue.

:thumb:
 

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Snake's are a daily hazzard for me on the job i do.i keep snake chaps in my company truck at all times.hazzard training i have to do for each job site allways includes snake's.alot has changed over the years for various techniques to deal with bite's.the bottom line is that all the old things people used to think were the right way to deal with a bite really do nothing or not much at all.except wast time. the right way to deal with it is to try to remain absoulutly calm,(which may pose a problem for some)the faster your pulse the faster you are going to spread the venom.the same goes,if you have to walk yourself out.you might have the urge to just haul a** out but just take your time stay calm and get to help,thats about all you can really do.
 
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