KANSAS (KSNT) – Summertime in northeast Kansas means sharing the backyard with snakes, including some venomous species. Snake bites can be costly, both physically and financially.
“Snakes have fangs that will inject the venom deep into the tissue,” Dr. Thomas Marcellino with Lawrence Memorial Health said. “The venom is hemotoxic and neuro-toxic so it can destroy tissue, it can destroy nerves.”
Anti-venom can cost sometimes in the six-figure range. Not every bite requires it, but you should seek medical help at the ER.
“You will need to also clean the wound, you may need an antibiotic, you may need a tetanus shot,” Dr. Marcellino said.
Northeast Kansas is home to many kinds of snakes, the copperhead being the most common venomous snake here. There are also rattlesnakes and timber rattlesnakes too, which can reach a length of up to five feet long.
“They’re pervasive they’re pretty much everywhere,” Dr. Marcellino said. “most of the time as the weather warms we’re going to see copperheads coming out at night.”
As the sun sets, the snakes will come out near wooded and rocky areas, sometimes closer to water.
There is a myth that copperheads are the most dangerous of the bunch. According to Dr. Marcellino, if you get bit by a timber rattlesnake, that is a medical emergency.
While some people might assume they know what every snake looks like, 50% of the thousands of snake bites in the U.S. that happen each year are venomous. Therefore, it’s best to leave this to the professionals.
That’s why it’s important to do a few things if you get bit:
- Stay calm.
- Mark the site where the fangs penetrated the skin, along with the time. That was doctors can tell how it is progressing.
- If possible, take a picture of the snake.
A baby snake might even be easier to stumble upon because it’s little and can be easily hidden. But do not judge a snake by its size.
“Juvenile snakes can be more dangerous because they don’t have that ability to withhold the venom,” Dr. Marcellino said. “They’re often going to just inject much more venom, whereas a larger snake may give a dry bite.”
He said the best thing you can do to prevent bites in the first place is to wear closed footwear while gardening or walking around your backyard at night and keeping the peace with these cold-blooded creatures. They’re just trying to stay cool in the summer sun.