Sunday, July 8, 2012

Snake Bite!

Have I mentioned lately that I hate snakes?  Well, I still do.  And several nasty recent incidents are bringing this feeling again to the forefront of my mind.  

Warning sign above the state map at a Pennsylvania rest stop along route 80
The first unpleasant sighting occurred at T & D's Cats of the World.  My family and I had just spent several enjoyable hours walking through this animal preserve enjoying seeing the various species of large and small animals that have been rescued and sheltered there.  On the last part of the walkway, posted on a stump in a small pond, we passed by this sign:

Less than a minute later, as we were approaching the building through which you exit the park, here is what I saw, slithering along the outside of the visitor entrance/exit/gift shop:

As I passed by the snake and then through the building to exit, I mentioned to the staff member inside that there is a large black snack right outside the doorway, and unbelievably she said, "Oh goodie!  We love those!"  (She is not my friend, that I am sure of.)  I know, I know, they eat rodents and other undesirable stuff, but I don't mind seeing rodents as much as I detest seeing SNAKES.  

Here is the latest and very unfortunate encounter I learned of, which happened in my local area.  An 11 year old boy was bitten in the foot by a copperhead snake three days ago.  It happened in one of the parking lots of the Raymond B. Winter State Park, which happens to be a park where my husband and I often go camping.  Frankly I do not know exact details of how this boy happened to be bitten.  

The boy was brought in to the emergency room of the local hospital, and he was treated with four rounds of anti-venom.  He survived the snake bite, but the word is still out on whether he may or may not lose his little toe.  

Also incredible to me about this story is the fact that the boy's parents brought the snake along to the emergency room,  ALIVE in a cooler.  I suppose they thought it would be helpful to the emergency personnel in order to know what type of anti-venom to administer.  

Here is the snake that bit this young boy (It was killed in the emergency room for the safety of the staff and other patients):

In thinking about these two instances of snake encounters, I thought I'd share that there are three types of poisonous snakes in Pennsylvania - Timber Rattlesnakes, Northern Copperheads, and the Eastern Massasauga.  The shape of the heads are distinctive, as are the colorings.  Watch for them, carefully, if you are hiking or working in the fields, woods, or rocky areas of our state.

I'm wondering if some of the incidences of snake bites could be prevented by more caution in places where snakes are likely to be.  I'm thinking of a recent weekend when my husband and I were camping (in the same park in which the boy was bitten), and we were watching as the family camping in the site next to us repeatedly sent their two small children up into the woods to gather sticks and pieces of wood to use in making a campfire.  I was cringing every time I saw those two precious little ones run up into prime snake territory.  Barefoot no less.  Please use some sense folks!

A nice campfire is certainly not worth taking the risk of a snakebite. 
 Please be careful out there!

1 comment:

  1. Funny about the first pic from PA80 rest stop. I was there 2 weeks ago! They had picnik tables there...like anyone would sit and eat! Lol