Monday, August 24, 2009

A Lesson on Snakes

I made about a hundred phone calls and God graciously led me to a wonderful snake-hunting lady who does this for free... for fun. Her only request is that we visit her in the hospital if she gets bit. If you're in Central Florida and are contending with a venomous snake, e-mail me (floridahomestead(at)mail(dot)com) and I'll give you her contact info. She's coming over Thursday morning for some hunting, but has given me a wealth of info over the phone recently too. Here it is:

1) Mid-August to mid-September is snake breeding season. They are particularly active so be vigilant. Watch where you step. Keep your grass short. Inspect areas before kids run out to play. Hot afternoons are a bit safer as they are hiding from the heat so if it doesn't matter when you go out, go out then.

2) Black snakes do NOT keep away venomous snakes. In fact NOTHING does. People make lots of money selling spray-on snake repellents that do absolutely nothing but give you some unwarranted peace of mind. The best thing to do is keep the areas you use free from their hiding places be watchful.

3) King snakes (the coral snake look-alike) are extremely rare around here. If you see a red,yellow and black banded snake, you can count on it being a coral snake. The good news is they are incredibly tame. A little girl was recently bit by a coral snake... after several minutes of playing with it. Don't take chances, but know they're not hunting you down.

4) Snakes can't see worth beans. They attack by the movement you make. If you spot a snake, slowly back away and they won't be able to "see" you.

5) If you have a snake-haven you'd like to dispose of (like our massive piles of pine scrub in the pasture), do so in cooler weather when they're not so active. And still be careful.

6) If a bite occurs, tie a band tightly around the appendage that was bit, just up from the bite. This keeps the blood from flowing so quickly to the brain. Keep it low to again prevent rapid blood flow. Make a criss-cross cut in the skin over the bite. Suck out blood, venom and fluid and spit it out. Do so until an ambulance arrives. If you have an open wound in your mouth, you'll be putting yourself in GREAT danger so weigh that when you're making the decision on who should do the sucking.

Hope this helps everyone to be safe outside in these later summer months.

1 comment:

  1. Errr... it looks like modern approach is not to place a tight band and not to cut the wound (see, for example MAyo clinic advice: or (reviewed by MDs as well). I don't remember why exactly - I think it's been established that the venom is absorbed very fast or something but that's what most doctors say nowadays - no tight bands and no cutting.

    Black snakes do keep the poisonous snakes away - not by some magic but simply by eating the same things poisonous snakes would be eating, so the area is less attractive to poisonous snakes. And yes, FL racers would also eat any other snake of suitable size, reducing their population. I'm guessing she meant that having black snakes is no guarantee you won't have any bad guys there, which is true, of course.

    Good luck in your snake fighting!