Montana, like much of America has its venomous snakes. No, I am not talking about Bankers, Politicians, or outlaws. Montana is home to Rattlesnakes! There is no shortage of Rattlers in Montana. Thousands of dens and snakes can be easily located throughout the state.
The Prairie Rattler is our local snake. Diamondbacks Rattlers are not found this far north. The only other Rattler lives in Gardiner and Yellowstone Parks Mammoth area. This high-altitude snake is rarely seen but. The resident Rattlers prefer the dry desert like areas. Rocks, crags, and log piles are common home. This is where their food lives so this is where they hang out.
We generally will bump into these reptiles from March to the fall. When it’s cold, they hunker down in dens or thick cover. Heat from the Sun is essential to keeping these cold-blooded critters alive. Mice, and insects supply most of their food needs. Rattlers warn you before they strike, most of the time. Leave them alone and they will leave you alone. Most encounters are a result of the snake defending itself.
If you are Snake bit, here are some suggestions.
Move away from the snake so you do not get bitten again
Stay calm and relax. Travel to the nearest hospital or clinic
Keep track of the time when you were bitten. Wash the wound and cover with a sterile dressing
Take off any jewelry, watches, bracelets, or tight garments in the area. There will be swelling.
Immobilize if possible. If you were bitten in the legs, you need to use them to walk out. Move with a purpose.
Depending on the age of the snake, the depth of the bite, if one or both fangs got you, are all important concerns. Generally, the snake pumped digestive juice into your skin. This will begin to break down your cells. The venom load varies. Young snakes pump more concentrated venom than old snakes. It is also possible to get a Dry Bite when n venom is injected. There is little that you can do in the field.
Do not suck the bite with your mouth. Do not use mechanical suction.
Do not cut the bite site. Do not make the area bleed.
Do not apply electric shock to the area.
Do not apply ice.
Do not apply a pressure wrap or tourniquet.
The most important thing to do is get to the Hospital ASAP! If you need an antivenom shot, they will have it or can get it. If you Do the Do Nots, you make it harder for the antivenom to do its job or cause more trauma.
Snake bites are uncommon. Considering how many snakes are around fatal encounters are rare. It is smart to be aware and be prepared. Rattlers spend 90 percent of their time in a den, hole, or under cover. Where you find one snake, you will find many more. A den is nearby.
Some folks simply kill every snake they see. You can call in snake hunters to search and remove snakes from your areas. They often transport them away. Bull snakes are way bigger and meaner, but they eat Rattlers. You will also find Rattlers in dens with other species of snakes. Snakes feed on rats, mice, and other small unwanted critters.
Always pay attention to where you are. If the area looks snakey, you are probably right.
Shake, Rattle, and Roll!
For more Montana Grant, find him avoiding snakes at www.montanagrantfishing.com.