A sidewinder rattlesnake was spotted on road 23 in LVN last week by Carol and Jana. This is a reminder that we–the two-legged creatures–and our pets are the invaders of this area, and, not the other way around!
Local folklore for this area has it that snakes, scorpions, tarantulas, and other creeping dwellers of the desert are not likely to be out and about when day and night time temperatures remain consistently below 75 degrees. Consequently, many snowbirds prefer to take up residence in San Felipe when they are assured that temperatures will remain comfortable during the day, and cooler in the evening. This usually includes the months of December, January, and February.
Should you encounter a rattlesnake, it is more than likely a sidewinder. Give it a wide berth and time to leave the area where you are walking. Hang on to your dog(s)! Chances are that the snake is just passing through, so don’t feel compelled to kill it. Remember, they were here long before we discovered this area, and, they keep the rodent population at bay. Keep your property clean and clutter-free in order to minimize the likelihood of meeting up with a rattlesnake. Watch where you put your hands and feet and keep a sharp eye out when hiking through the desert. Don’t stake-out, and/or crate your dog or cat in such a way that they could be compromised by a snake (or, scorpion, spider, etc.) encounter.
Should you get bitten, get transport to the nearest hospital without delay. Rattlesnake bites cause severe tissue damage and are potentially life threatening. Symptoms appear quickly, and include swelling and intense pain. As time progresses, the victim will experience chills and weakness, pulse and respiratory irregularities, numbness in the face, nausea, bleeding and sloughing of tissue. Most of these symptoms can be reduced or avoided with the use of an antivenin. Keep the bite victim calm, warm, and comfortable. DO NOT apply a tourniquet, administer any drugs or alcohol, apply ice or attempt any other first aid such as the “cut-and-suck” procedure. These things cause more harm than good. A tetanus shot is advisable for all puncture wound victims.