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Posted on: May 9, 2017

What to do when encountering a venomous snake

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, May 9, 2017
CONTACT: PIO Arnold M. Knightly, 775-277-1536

The Pahrump Valley area and all of Nye County is home to poisonous snakes. The Mojave Green rattlesnake might be the most venomous snake in North America and it lives right here in Pahrump as well. The general rule of thumb is if you are in the desert, always be aware of where you are walking. Keep your pets close by and watch what they are doing. Investigate when they are showing interest in something on the ground. Teach your dog’s the “leave it” command so you can effectively call them off something they are showing interest in. Leave the snakes alone if one is encountered on your path.
If a citizen encounters a snake on their property, they should call Nye County Sheriff’s Office dispatch (emergency 9-1-1, non-emergency 775-751-7000) and an officer will be sent and remove the snake. Most citizens do not know how to identify a venomous from a non-venomous snake. For after-hours snake concerns, call dispatch and advise where the snake is on their property and an NCSO sergeant will determine if it a life-threatening emergency and dispatch an Animal Control Officer if necessary.
There were a significant number of bites in the 60s, 70s and 80s in Pahrump. Snakes are not as common today within the populated areas.
What to do if bit
• Remain calm. Raising your blood pressure causes the venom to spread quickly
• Immobilize the bitten body part, stay quiet
• Remove jewelry – you will swell
• Keep the bitten area below the level of your heart
• Cleanse the wound, but don’t flush it with water, cover with a dry dressing
• Do not suck on the wounds with your mouth. If you suck the poison into your mouth and have a cavity or open wound in your mouth the poison will attack that flesh. Suction cups do not work.
• Do not restrict blood flow
• Call 911 or go to the nearest hospital that can deliver anti-venom and emergency care.
• Do not run over snakes with motor vehicles. Snake fangs can pierce tires and may cause a pseudo bite when changing or repairing a tire.
Symptoms of a snake bite, which can take several hours to appear, include blurred vision, slurry speech, difficulty in swallowing and speaking, and respiratory failure.
A rattlesnake has the capability of biting you but not injecting you. The young ones don’t have as much control over that process, so they’re more likely to inject you and they are likely to inject all the poison they have making the bite more injurious than an adult.
The young snake puts itself at risk of starving to death if it injects something it cannot eat.
Not all snake bites result in poison being injected, but you should treat all bites as serious matters.
Mohave Greens, pit vipers, have two types of venom, Hemotoxic and Neurotoxic. Hemotoxic breaks down the red blood cells causing you to bleed internally and Neurotoxic breaks down nerve tissue shutting down the central nervous system, causing you to stop breathing.
Found at higher elevations – in the 2,000 to 4,000-foot range – Pahrump is mid-range at 3,400 feet. Mojave Green rattlesnakes (sometimes spelled Mohave) prefer grassy areas or scrub brush like creosote and mesquite. They have a diamond pattern down their backs like the Diamondback rattlesnake, but the pattern disappears near the tail. They derive their name from their blue green color. They come in various colors dark green to light brown with a green tinge, depending on where they are living.
Mojave Green feast on kangaroo rats, lizards, and other small critters. Unlike most snakes, Mojave Green young ones are snakes, not eggs.
Late July and August, snakes molt. This time of the year they strike at anything close to defend themselves because they cannot see.
According to Emedicinehealth.com, approximately 7,000 snakebites are reported in the United States each year, with 5-to-10 of those being fatal.
What makes the Mojave Green rattlesnake noteworthy is the potency of its venom, which by one estimate is about 16 times as toxic as the Diamondback rattlesnake venom.
If you are in doubt about what type of snake bit you, take a photo of the snake to show to the emergency responder or medical provider.
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