The heat of summer is upon us. Unfortunately for those of us that enjoy being outdoors, that also means snake season is in full swing. Although most snakes found in the United States are non-venomous, there are several snakes of Arizona that you need to be on the lookout for.
The most common venomous snakes found here are rattlesnakes,and coral snakes. Â Copperheads and water moccasins aren’t found in Arizona, but you should still be aware of. All of these except the coral snake are pit vipers.
Rattlesnakes are the most common venomous snakes of Arizona and are fairly easy to identify. When threatened, a rattlesnake shakes it tail and makes a rattling noise as a warning. The majority of poisonous snake bites in the U.S. each year are at the fangs of a rattlesnake.
They thrive in a variety of different habitats like open areas, rocky regions, or wooded areas. For this reason, the rattlesnake population is not confined to a specific region of the country, but is more widespread.
Water moccasins are found mostly in the southern region of the U.S. Â in or around areas of water. They can grow to an average size of 4 to 5 feet in length. They are commonly referred to as cottonmouths due to the white coloring inside their mouths. Most water moccasins have dark brown or black skin with dark crossbands. They are known to be rather aggressive toward humans.
Copperheads are gold or reddish brown and have distinctive hourglass shapes along their body. They are generally smaller than water moccasins and grow to about 3 feet in length. Although they are not usually aggressive, they will bite when they feel threatened. Most copperhead bites are a result of stepping on the snake or startling it. They are found mostly in the Eastern U.S in rocky, swampy, or wooded areas.
Coral snakes primarily inhabit the southern region of the country. Mostly found in wooded or marshy areas, these snakes are covered in red, yellow, and blackish bands. They are the only venomous snake in the United States that is not a pit viper. Because they resemble one species of king snake, they are sometimes not initially recognized as venomous.
What To Do If You’ve Been Bit
Now that you’ve been instilled with a healthy dose of fear, it’s time to discuss what to do if you are bitten by a venomous snake. If you’re ever in that situation and are unsure if the snake is poisonous, you should assume it is and treat the bite accordingly. Immediately, call 911 or get to the ER. Even though it will be difficult, try to remain calm.
If possible, lie down with the bite below heart level. This will slow the spread of venom. Do not, however, attempt to suck the venom out or apply a tourniquet. These are both common misconceptions when dealing with snake bites.
Now that you are familiar with snakes’ preferred habitats and the actions to take if bitten, you can be better prepared for your outdoor adventures. You simply need to use a little caution against snakes of Arizona. By taking the time to look around you, you will feel more at ease in the great outdoors and have a more enjoyable summer.
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