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Record number of snake bites in North Carolina


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There have been 257 snake bites through the first six months of  2024, according to the North Carolina Poison Control, outpacing the previous six-month record total of 247 snake bites in 2020 which ended with a year total of 733 snake bites.

Scott Fedorchak, a volunteer with Scouts of America who’s taught snake recognition for more than 50 years, said lack of resources and severe heat is driving the increase in snake and human interactions.

“Snakes are going to where their food and water sources are, and with the rain, or lack thereof here within the last several months, they are now moving to places they can find food and water,” he said. “Right now, that’s people watering their yards, gardens, the edge of their property, and you bring them in closer proximity of each other, now you have a greater chance of interaction between snake and human.”

Most NC snake bites are from copperheads.

More at source including further explanation (see WRAL video) by Scouter Scott Fedorchak:

https://www.wral.com/story/most-snake-bites-ever-in-nc-in-first-six-months-poison-control-says/21499851/

Edited by RememberSchiff
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While I seldom am out hiking with this concern now due to age, hikers, especially youth in groups, such as scouts, need to make sure they allow space between themselves on trails and that they look at the trail in front of themselves consistently.  OF you come upon a snake, the front one or two hikers are less likely to be bitten than those behind, as the front ones draw the attention and the snake reacts to the followers.  Also, if hiking where snakes are a real concern, wear proper foot ware.  

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The National Snakebite Support facebook page is a good resource for anyone who spends time outdoors. ER expertise regarding bite management can vary. 

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I have read that most bites occur as a result of trying to capture, kill or relocate a snake.  Just give them their space and they will be on their way.

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1 hour ago, scoutldr said:

I have read that most bites occur as a result of trying to capture, kill or relocate a snake.  Just give them their space and they will be on their way.

The average outdoors person has probably passed near, over, or around them multiple times without incident. Most snake species, especially venomous, camouflage extremely well, want to remain hidden and avoid you, and are not aggressive. From a snake's perspective, however, many things that humans do can seem threatening so they will sometimes react. The best prevention is to be aware of how well they camouflage, where they like to be, and what conditions will cause them to be in places they usually don't like. You do not need to kill the snake and bring it to the ER with you, which is how many people are sometimes bitten again since a decapitated snake head can still bite hours after it has been separated from the body. The antivenom treatment for US pit vipers -- rattlesnake, cottonmouth, copperhead -- is the same.  

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The proverbial canary in the coal mine.

As an advisor on a you-ordered-a-burro trek, never having had one with a crew as a Ranger, but having heard plenty of horror stories, I was not enthused, but it is the scouts' trek.

All went well, until about half a mile West of Head of Dean.

The burro stopped dead, stock still on the trail. Would not budge.

It quickly dawned on me that something was going on.  I told the scouts not to move.

Sure enough, I located about a 3 foot rattlesnake about 5 feet from the burro under a little bush and with a bit of gentle encouragement from my walking stick, the rattlesnake moved down the slope and the burro eased up and moved forward.

How the burro was aware of the snake, I don't know as it was very hard to see.

I just reviewed some of the archived Philmont records, guidebooks, etc., and there is little material on how to deal with rattlesnakes.  Not even mentioned in the section of Dangers On The Trail. I don't recall any training as a Ranger regarding rattlesnakes.

I've had about 5 back country encounters with rattlesnakes at Philmont.  Once, moving a log for a seat to our campfire, right in our campsite, we heard a rattler.  Froze, and then the two of us dropped the log simultaneously while jumping backwards. I captured that snake and took him out a couple of hundred yards. Not the smartest thing, us picking up the log without kicking it a couple of times first.

The bigger lesson is that before taking one's pack off rest, kick the logs, etc, before sitting down.

Walked past one on a ledge about shoulder height without even seeing it.  Another adult pointed it out to me.

The other encounters were snakes spotted on the trail-just give them some room and be patient.

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Posted (edited)

Scouting taught me to be observant while hiking. Walking with my buddy on a jeep road on a hot sunny Philmont day, a rattlesnake slithered between my legs. I was yakking with my buddy and oblivious to my surroundings . Our SM watched, too stunned to shout out. Maybe that was a good thing but he gave me an earful afterwards in front of my patrol. Adult leaders could do that back then as a way to curb stupidity.

Lesson learned. Eyes on trail and my feet. I am wary of warm surfaces, crevices, and vegetation. Last year I visited a CA poppy field with Mrs. Schiff who attempted a close-up photo of a pretty flower. Luckily I saw the rattler move in the poppies, close encounter.

I mention this to scouts and parents who think hiking is just walking a longer distance with a 32oz ice coffee and ear buds. Hiking is much more than exercise,

Scouter Fedorchak said the best way to keep yourself and your loved ones safe this snake season is to "be aware of your surroundings."

"These snakes are most active at sunset because that's when prey becomes active," he said. If you think a snake may be nearby, "scuff your feet, it puts out a vibration to alert you are there," he added.

Out of precaution, Fedorchak advised treating every snake bite like it's venomous. "Take a marker and circle the bite," he instructed. "What they will look for is if there is swelling [and] is there a possible envenomation."

My $0.02,

Source:

https://www.msn.com/en-us/health/other/record-breaking-number-of-snake-bites-prompts-new-guidance-on-staying-safe/ar-BB1p0S5y?item=themed_featuredapps_enabled

Edited by RememberSchiff
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