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Venomous Snakes in the United States

Cotton Mouth
Cotton Mouth
National Geographic

There are four basic snakes in the United States that are venomous. The first three are known as Pit Viper's which consist of five varieties of Copperheads, three varieties of Cottonmouths, also known as water moccasins, 31 different varieties of rattlesnakes. The fourth is known as an Elapid and consists of three varieties of Coral snakes.

It is been documented that as many as 8000 people are bitten in a years' time by venomous snake. Of these about five die per year, the risk is much higher for those who are bitten and have an allergy to the snake venom. Landscapers, farmers, gardeners, and construction workers who work outdoors can be exposed to venomous snake bites and need to know how to take care of themselves if bitten.

In the United States the largest venomous snake is the Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake and is found east of the Mississippi River. They are often found sunning themselves on a log or on top of the rocks of the open plains or desert areas. Because there also found in the mountains or on the beaches there is always the possibility of a chance encounter. They do have an early warning system, when they feel threatened the rattles on their tails make a distinctive noise, and they are capable of striking up to one third of their body length. They do not always use the warning device before striking.

A much smaller snake but equally as dangerous is the Copperhead, although the Copperhead is not an aggressive snake under most circumstances they are known to bite when he or frightened or get stepped on. They are much smaller than the rattlesnake and are usually found near water in a forest or swampy area however many are seen swimming in the river.
The Cottonmouth is a much darker snake than the others and is usually found in or near the water. These snakes do not scare easily and can become aggressive when they feel threatened.

The Coral snake is very pretty and often mistaken for the non-venomous King snake. The most distinctive feature of the Coral snake is the red band which is touching the yellow band on their bodies. These snakes like to hide and are often found buried in the ground or hidden in a pile of leaves, they prefer sandy or marshy areas.

Is always best to avoid the snake when seen, do not try to handle the snake or try to capture it. If accidentally bitten, typically there will be a pair of puncture wounds, redness and swelling often occur around the area. This is often followed by nausea, problems breathing, and sometimes numbness or tingling is experienced around the wound. It is imperative to call 911 and seek immediate medical attention and know the type snake the victim encountered. This information is necessary in order to receive the appropriate medical care. Until help arrives keep the patient as calm as possible, lower the bite area below heart level, and thoroughly wash the area with soap and water. Under no circumstances should you attempt to cut the area open and suck out the venom. It is also advised not to use ice packs or to place the wound in water, or to have the victim drink alcohol or caffeinated beverages after a snake bite.

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