Emergency

Plan for It: Our Snake Bite Survival Guide

With summer comes the sun, the surf, and the snakes. June, July, and August are peak months for snake bites. Learn how to protect yourself, and know what to do when a snake gets a little too close.

Venomous Snakes

Texas is home to a variety of snakes, most of them nonvenomous. However, there are a handful of snakes that pose a danger to humans that you should avoid whenever possible. Copperheads, western cottonmouths (water moccasins), rattlesnakes, and coral snakes are the most common venomous varieties in the state of Texas. It can be difficult to distinguish these snakes from their nonvenomous brothers because many of them look very similar to one another. Any time a snake bites, you should seek professional medical treatment, regardless of the kind of snake. If you experience a change in skin color, severe pain, shock, paralysis, or muscle weakness, call 911 immediately.

How to Avoid Snake Bites

Snakebite occurrences typically involve wandering through tall grass or stepping on or near a snake the victim didn’t know was there. Because most bites occur around the foot or ankle, wearing long pants, such as jeans, and protective footwear, preferably boots, can help prevent snake fangs from reaching your skin.

If you hear a snake, stop moving until you can determine its location, then slowly move away from it. Most snakes are not aggressive and won’t attack unless provoked. Do not approach, attempt to pick up, or try to mess around with a snake, even if it does not appear to be alive.

What to Do If Bitten

No matter how careful you are, you can’t entirely prevent getting bitten. And if a snake bite occurs, try to get a look at its coloring and features without putting yourself in any further danger. Even if you think it is a nonvenomous snake, we recommend visiting a medical facility and calling ahead of time to let them know that you’re coming. Stay calm, and remove any rings or other constrictive items from the bite spot, as it will begin to swell. Fatalities from snake bites are rare, but it’s important you always seek professional help.

If you happen to cross paths with a snake and find yourself in a dangerous situation, call 911 or visit a CHI St. Luke's Health emergency room.

Sources:
CBS News | Snakebites are on the rise, and these states are the riskiest
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department | Snakes
Texas A&M Today | Warmer Temps Means Snakes Are Moving, Say Texas A&M Experts
Houston Chronicle | It's snakebite season. Here's what you should know
Houston Press | Slithering Neighbors - Dealing With The Types of Snakes That Might Live Near You
Houston Press | How to Avoid the Houston Area's Venomous Snakes

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