Snake and Lizard Bites - Prevention
Snakebites are more likely to occur in
warm-weather months when both snakes and people are more active outdoors. Most
snakebites occur on the fingers, hands, and arms when someone is working with
or trying to catch a snake. The legs and feet are also common bite sites; these
bites usually occur when a person (especially a child or a hiker) accidentally
disturbs a snake.
Snakes and lizards are popular exotic pets, so
the risk for being bitten has increased.
Many snake and lizard
bites can be prevented.
- Find out what local snakes and lizards are found
in your area. Learn what they look like, whether they are poisonous, and where
you are most likely to see them.
- If you see a snake or lizard, do
not bother it. Keep in mind that the striking range of a snake is about
two-thirds of its length.
- Do not pick up or handle snakes. Even a
dead snake can bite and release venom through reflexes for 90 minutes or more
after it dies.
- Watch for snakes around wood or rock piles or caves.
Wear protective shoes, boots, and clothing when you are hiking, camping,
fishing, and hunting.
- Do not drink alcohol or use illegal drugs
while doing outdoor activities where you might encounter a snake. The effects
of the alcohol and drugs may slow your judgment and reflexes.
you have a pet snake or lizard or are thinking about getting one, learn how to
handle it safely to avoid being bitten. Find out what first aid supplies you
will need if you are bitten, and have them handy.
If you are often in an area where there are poisonous snakes,
consider carrying a first aid kit. Carry a cellular phone, if you have one, to
call for help if you are bitten.