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Posted by Chris McMartin on July 01, 2002 at 18:42:11:
In Reply to: How can l keep my family safe? posted by Mom on July 01, 2002 at 15:10:41:
: Is there anything I can do?
I'm in Schertz. I'm on the call list for the South Texas Herpetological Association for the capture and relocation of problem reptiles. I would LOVE to see the "cottonmouth water moccasins" and capture/relocate them.
My neighbor says he finds cottonmouths too; we have some seasonal water holes not too far from our neighborhood. I'm naturally skeptical of reports of cottonmouths because the average Joe/Jane often mistakes harmless water snakes for cottonmouths. That's not to say your particular snakes aren't harmless, and you are right to be concerned (better to be concerned and turn out to be mistaken, than to NOT be concerned and be wrong!).
:snakes, and pray a lot! Waht worries me is the :toddler. He doesn't know to look.
The simple solution is to not allow the toddler the opportunity to get "in the bushes" unsupervised. That said, even if the child gets in the bushes, the chances that a snake will be there are slim. Even if a snake is there, the chances that the child will get bitten are even slimmer. Even if the child is bitten, the chances of a fatality are VERY slim. Statistically, less than one person in the US dies from a cottonmouth bite each year. The statistics aren't comforting to that person, though!
: We are getting A LOT of rain right now. (San Antonio) Does this bring them out? What about when it's really dry, do they come to yards looknig for water?
The BEST answer to these questions is "maybe." Cottonmouths prefer aquatic habitat, but aren't limited to waterways. The rain can potentially lead them to search for new hunting grounds, similar to humans' fishing improving when the lakes flood. The snakes follow the food.
: Also, what to do in case of a bite? Besides 911, I've heard conflicting info. Should you suck the venom out? Waht about ice and turnicats?
DO NOT "cut and suck" the bite. DO NOT apply a tourniquet, although a pressure bandage above the wound is OK (just don't make it tight enough to cut off the circulation).
Personally, I wouldn't call 911. I'd apply a pressure bandage, maybe an ice pack to help control swelling, and head for a hospital, having a passenger or person remaining at home call the hospital en route to advise of the situation.
: Any info would be helpful!!
I hope this was of some use. I'm not trying to scare you with this information--for people with a fear of snakes, reading about this stuff (snakebite treatment etc) can get the ol' adrenaline pumping. Just remember that you're more likely to get in a car crash or even struck by lightning in these rain storms than to get bitten by a snake. And of the people that get bitten, a substantial amount of bites involve the use of alcohol, and I don't think it's the snakes doing the drinking. :)
Seriously, I'd like to scout out the pond sometime to confirm the snake ID, and if you have a "snake crisis" in the yard, I'd be happy to assist. Email if you want the number.