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Posted by W von Papinešu on August 08, 2002 at 18:36:45:
ENID NEWS & EAGLE (Oklahoma) 07 August 02 Experts: Enid offers no habitat for rattlers.
The only way a western diamondback rattlesnake could get to Enid is if someone brought it here, a local biologist said.
"That snake probably escaped from someone who lives within a few blocks," said Dick Lardie, biologist and educator.
Lardie was discussing the discovery of a western diamondback rattlesnake by an Enid man Sunday.
Lardie said it is typical of someone who attends rattlesnake hunts to bring one back or for someone to try and keep one then turn it loose.
Western diamondbacks are not found in Enid because there is no habitat for the snakes here. The closest habitat is 35 miles west in the gypsum hills, the Glass Mountain area or Roman Nose State Park.
"They are not found in Enid at all," Lardie said.
Mark Howery, wildlife biologist for Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, also said it is unusual for a diamondback to be in Garfield County.
Lardie retired from the Air Force and civil service at Vance Air Force Base and has lived in Enid since 1971. He considers himself a zoologist and educator. He has a bachelor's degree in biology, a master's in education from Phillips University and a master's in natural science from Oklahoma State University.
Lardie has studied area snakes extensively.
"There is no habitat for the diamondbacks here. Those gypsum caps (out west) make good places to spend the winter," he said.
In eastern Oklahoma, diamondbacks are found as far north as the southern Ozark Mountains, and also extend into Arkansas and across southern Oklahoma in areas like the Ouachita Mountains.
A diamondback rattlesnake bite is a dangerous one. Lardie advises a bite victim to remain calm, although it would be difficult to do, and get to a doctor.
"Most people who die from rattlesnake bites die from mismanaged first aid treatment or heart problems or a blood problem," he said.
If left unattended, a normal, healthy person likely would survive a rattlesnake bite, he said, but may have problems in the area where the bite occurred.
Howery said he discourages people from attempting to suck out poison or apply a tourniquet to a bite. Those attempts usually cause more problems, he said.
A rattlesnake bite causes the death of muscle tissue and nerve damage around the bite.
"The snake needs to feel afraid or uncovered (to bite)," Lardie said. "Snakes don't want you to see them because you're bigger than they are."
The only venomous snake indigenous to the Enid area is the western massasauga ground rattlesnake, Lardie said. However, those are so rare, Lardie has not recovered one since he arrived here in 1971.
"It's the same with moccasins. People think we have them, but we don't have them here," he said.