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Rattlesnake season: Utah man hospitalized after bite

Summer is here, and that means that snakes are moving about, particularly rattlesnakes. A Utah man was helping his uncle build a fence in Casper, Wyo., when he was bitten by a rattlesnake. According to KSL on Monday, AJ Vande Merwe spent a couple of days in the hospital, one day of which was in ICU. Vande Merwe received 18 doses of anti-venom and fortunately did not die. His uncle applied a strap to keep the poison from spreading through the rest of his body while he was on the way to the hospital.

It's rattlesnake season
It's rattlesnake season
Photo by David McNew/Getty Images

Experts warn that the best thing to do when you encounter a snake is nothing. Giving the snake plenty of space to move on is always mentioned as a good plan of action. However, almost anyone questioned will respond that they would kill a rattlesnake or copperhead on their property, although it is illegal to do so in many states. One person in Bristol made a point to say that she would kill it, but she would dispose of it and not tell anyone!

According to the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), 8,000 venomous snakebites occur in the United States each year. This is still not such a common occurrence, given the population of the country. Pit vipers account for 99% of the snake bites. This includes rattlesnakes, copperheads and water moccasins. The AAFP also reports that rattlesnakes account for 95% of the fatalities caused by snake bites. Between the years 1960 and 1990, no more than 12 snakebite fatalities were reported during each year.

During the summer, it is important to always keep an eye out for snakes, particularly when you veer from the normal trails and walkways. It is a terrifying sound when you hear that unmistakable rattling noise. The best thing to do, however, is not to try to kill it or harass it. KSL reports that most snake bites occur when someone is trying to handle a venomous snake.