Jim Freganara, a biologist with the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, says our snakes are special. "They come in various colors, he's kind of yellow, others are bright yellow, some are gray or even black."
This is the other, a copperhead and it packs a punch in its bite, but those bites are rarely deadly.
"Of all the snake bites, no one has died from a copperhead bite in the last 50 years. More people in the country are bitten by copperheads because there are more of them. There are a few different species, northern, southern, but their venom isn't as strong." says Freganara.
If you are one of the rare, unlucky people who get bit by one of these two kinds of poisonous snakes, you have about a 50-50 chance of walking away unharmed with nothing to show but a couple of small puncture wounds.
"Another thing, too, about copperheads and rattlesnakes is that if you are bitten by one, there is a 40-50% chance nothing's gonna happen, they're called hollow bites or dry bites. That means the snake did bite you, but didn't inject venom. That's because they don't want to waste venom on something they're not going to eat."
Sometimes they do inject venom, and when they do, Jim says you should stay calm, put ice on your wound and get to a hospital where a little anti-venom should take care of the problem. You should also stay calm if you hear one of these guys rattle at you, it doesn't mean you're going to get bit.
"They're not going to bother you unless you bother them. When a rattlesnake does rattle, all he's doing is letting you know you are in his space, kind of like a dog showing his teeth it doesn't necessarily mean he's going to bite, he's letting you know I'm here, leave me alone."
That coexist policy will help keep both you and the snake safe in the environment we all share.
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