Sponsored by


Note: This story is more than 5 years old.

Poison center: Baby rattlesnakes are active, dangerous

Ready or not, Arizona rattlesnakes and their offspring are active and residents should be on the lookout for them over the next few weeks, authorities said.

Baby rattlesnakes, born in July and August, strike without warning and have enough venom to be a serious health hazard, an Arizona Poison and Drug Information Center spokeswoman said in a news release.

Yong rattlesnakes do not give a warning before they strike because they do not have a rattle until they shed their first skins. Young rattlers can range from six to 12 inches long. People must be cautious around brush and grass because the baby rattlers are almost invisible to the human eye, Ann Cisneros said in the release.

As part of the University of Arizona College of Pharmacy, the Arizona Poison and Drug Information Center assists residents of all counties in the state except Maricopa County. Many calls received by the specialists are from Arizonans who are unaware they have been bitten by a rattlesnake.

“People may not figure out what has happened until we go over the symptoms they are having,” said Keith Boesen, director of the poison center in the release. “Adult rattlers don’t always give an audible warning before or while they are biting either, so the risk of unidentified snakebite exists year-round.”

From Jan. 1 through July 31 this year, 74 rattlesnake bites of humans were reported to the center, the release said.

Anyone who has been outdoors and experienced a strange sting, pinch, bite, small cut, or wound, especially on the arm or leg, is encouraged to call the center at 1-800-222-1222.

“We will ask a few questions that will help you either identify a possible snakebite or eliminate it,” said Boesen. “With snakebite, the sooner the medical treatment, the better the outcome. So calling us right away can make a very big difference for the victims and the medical teams treating them.”

Thanks for reading TucsonSentinel.com. Tell your friends to follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

- 30 -
have your say   


There are no comments on this report. Sorry, comments are closed.

Sorry, we missed your input...

You must be logged in or register to comment

Read all of TucsonSentinel.com's
coronavirus reporting here »

Click image to enlarge

Carla Kishinami/Flickr

A diamondback rattlesnake coiled near a cactus near Tucson.

Avoiding venomous bites

  • Beware of active times. Reptiles in Arizona are more active during the warm months: April through October. During hot months, reptiles prefer the cool night air.
  • Watch where you step or put your hands. Reptiles hide from the heat in crevices or under rocks and other debris. Be sure to wear shoes or boots after dark.
  • Leave them alone. About 70 percent of bites were provoked.
  • Don’t handle dead reptiles. Snake reflexes can still result in a bite several hours after death.
  • Install outdoor lighting; snakes like to come out at night to enjoy the cooler temperatures. If you are concerned about dangerous reptiles in your yard, then seek professional assistance in removal.

If bitten

  • DO try to stay calm.
  • DO contact the nearest poison control center.
  • DO pay attention to how you are reacting.
  • DO have someone else drive if possible.
  • DO realize that you have time.
  • DO NOT try to suck the venom out.
  • DO NOT ice the wound.
  • DO NOT create a tourniquet.
  • DO NOT wait to see how your body reacts.
  • DO NOT assume that having no symptoms means no venom.

— Arizona Poison and Drug Information Center