It can be easy to think of rattlesnakes in a desert setting. After all, many movies use the signature rattlesnake rattle to set the scene of a desert landscape. But rattlesnakes are one of the most common venomous snakes in America, with a number of different subspecies spread across the country. The Timber Rattlesnake is common across most of the east coast, and going as far west as Texas. It is one of three venomous snakes found in the New York area.
Rattlesnakes are a danger to those who get bit, but they often give plenty of warning before they strike. Timber rattlesnakes, like their desert-dwelling cousins, have a signature “rattle” on the end of their tails. This allows them to warn potential threats and scare them off before they strike. This rattle helps humans avoid contact, when they know to stay away. Rattlesnakes have other physical identifiers. They, like most venomous snakes, have triangular-shaped heads. Rattlesnakes are spotted, and the timber rattlesnake will sport colors ranging from black to brown to tan.
Rattlesnake venom is potent, and the Timber Rattlesnake is known to pump a large amount into their prey in a single bite. Because of this, they can be very deadly. However, because of their mild temperament, they give plenty of warning time before they strike. Because of this, it is an often avoidable scenario, and few fatalities are reported yearly.
The best way to prevent a snake bite is to listen to it’s warnings, and avoid it. Do not provoke any snake, venomous or not. Luckily, Timber Rattlesnakes are very mild in temperament, and will usually only bite when provoked. They will usually give ample warning before striking.
If you or a loved one is bitten by a rattlesnake, go to the hospital immediately. If your pet is bitten, take them to the vet. There is no real solution in the field for a venomous snakebite, just go to a hospital. In a hospital, you can be assessed properly, and administered the proper antivenom. Do not attempt to suck out the venom. That is dangerous and ineffective. Keep the wound below heart level, and await the ambulance or drive them to the hospital.
If there is a rattlesnake on your property, avoid it and call a humane wildlife removal service. Do not attempt to trap or kill a snake yourself, even for identification purposes after someone is bitten; as this is not necessary.