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Herps In The News Local or national articles where reptiles or amphibians have made it into the news media. Please cite sources.

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Old 10-20-2006, 11:48 PM   #1
Clay Davenport
Movie snakebite remedy nearly fatal

ROCKVALE, Tenn., Oct. 5 (UPI) -- A Tennessee farmer recovering from a timber rattlesnake bite says a well-meaning passer-by nearly killed him with a remedy seen in the movies.

Mike Edwards, 46, was working on his farm in Rockvale, southwest of Murphreesboro Saturday when a very young rattler bit his index finger.

Edwards was driven to a site to wait for an ambulance, and while there, a well-meaning but unknowledgeable woman applied a tourniquet to his arm, as seen in movies. However, she did not follow through with the Hollywood spin of cutting the wound and sucking the blood out, the Murphreesboro Daily News reported.

Once at the hospital, Edwards could barely see and his blood pressure was dangerously low. He spent three days in the hospital, and doctors said he would have died if he had arrived 10 minutes later.

The severity of his bite was the fact the rattlesnake was a young one, and inexperienced in judging how much venom to inject. The majority of experienced adult snakes issue "dry bites," the report said.

Old 10-21-2006, 12:54 PM   #2
Is this true? I always thought it was the other way around.

The majority of experienced adult snakes issue "dry bites," the report said.
Old 10-23-2006, 10:34 PM   #3
Too true...young ones are much more dangerous than older ones, and it really depends on how threatened they feel. Let me clarify--young ones will inject MORE venom. It isn't true that adults don't envenomate people when they bite, they just don't overdo it. I have seen horses and cows and sheep (oh my) bitten by rattlesnakes who become very sick or even die afterwards. I myself was once bitten, and there is no question that I was envenomated.
Old 10-24-2006, 08:21 AM   #4
Gabriel Burgi
Yes, but...

I have often thought about this topic.

Sure, neonate viperids may be inexperienced as to how much venom to release, possibly making them more dangerous...but they also have propotionately smaller venom glands. Wouldn't an overzealous baby with small venom glands release about the same amount of venom as an adult with larger venom glands only releasing a metered amount? Just a thought...

Old 10-24-2006, 08:22 AM   #5
Gabriel Burgi

propotionately = proportionately
Old 10-25-2006, 12:48 AM   #6
Both neonates and adults can inflict "dry" bites, though the type of bite frequently dictates the amount of venom injected. Babies have much smaller amounts of venom available, but they frequently try harder - if you have ever seen a baby viper bite something, you know what I mean, lol. Also, most threats are serious threats when you are that small, so defensive bites are often administered with the same vigor as a feeding strike.

Of course, there are also several factors which can impact the volume of venom injected, the most obvious being how much is available (think: how long has it been since it used venom, and how much of its store was delivered).

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