Big Bend Chat

Big Bend National Park Q&A => General Questions and Answers => Topic started by: tjavery on May 12, 2006, 04:04:59 PM

Title: Snakebites
Post by: tjavery on May 12, 2006, 04:04:59 PM
Moderator note:  This topic was split off from this trip report topic (http://www.bigbendchat.com/portal/forum/el-salon/midapril-4nights-in-the-backcountry-trip-report-t920.0.html)

Thanks everyone for your great comments! I'm glad this site exists to share these great memories.

Quote from: Joe
...I wonder about what you said about snakebite, though (be prepared with proper gear and knowledge to treat a snake bite). I've been through lots of wilderness first responder courses, and the latest treatment I've heard for snakebite is do nothing except remove jewelry, loosen clothing, immobilize the bitten area, and evacuate....

Joe- about the snake bite: Just before I left Del Rio, I spoke with a good friend of my wife's family who has taught courses in survival. He told me that the lastest first-aid response in the field is to use only a rubber band, and use it sparingly. Most of the field treatment is knowledge and proper action.

After being bit, place a rubber band above the bite (assuming it's on an arm or leg; if you get bit in the head, don't put it around your neck!). Try to keep calm and keep your physical activity at a minimum. Walk slowly towards help (e.g. your vehicle, other people, etc.). Every 10 or 15 minutes, stop for a 2 or 3 minute break. During that break, take the rubber band off. When you resume your slow pace, put the rubber band back on. Unless absolutely necessary, don't attempt any activity that will raise your heartrate.

Never attempt to suck out the poison and never put an all-out tourniquet on (completely stopping blood flow). The poison will travel in your lymphatic system and not your blood.

Most likely you'll be okay and live. You may sustain local tissue damage around the bite area. So try not to get bit on a toe, finger, or other small extremity. You may lose it!

Before I left town, I stopped at HEB and bought a snake bit kit and a few hundred extras (a sack of rubber bands :-))
Title: Snakebites
Post by: Bobcat on May 12, 2006, 06:35:41 PM
When I was bitten(left hand), I knew within seconds that a Timber unloaded on me.  Your bleeding, so instinctively, you try to suck out the area(totally ineffective,of course). I used a stretch headband above the bite.  I really don't think I would of made it to my car which was ~ 2 miles down river.  I had to get down off a bluff and was very lucky to get a boat ride to a small river town.  I was totally out of it when we arrived.  I was told by the ambulance people that my B/P was 60/40 when they arrived. Conclusion: Best of luck to you if you are solo, bitten and far from help.  You may not be able to drive your veh even if you do reach it.
Title: Snakebites
Post by: EdB on May 12, 2006, 07:32:43 PM
Great report TJ. I tried to do a trip similar to yours in March, although I had to skip Old Ore because of a minor Jeep mishap. I camped at TA #4 though - won't make that mistake again.  :?

So, a question about snake bites? Are y'all saying don't even bother using a snake bite kit to try to get some of the venom out? I thought that was at least somewhat helpful, but it seems like the consensus here is to not waste your time. What about if you're (as Bobcat mentioned) solo and really far from help? Would it then be more helpful to try to get some venom out to minimize the effects, or just get to hiking and hope for the best?
Title: Snakebite Treatment
Post by: Joe on May 12, 2006, 08:34:08 PM
Quote from: "EdB"
So, a question about snake bites? Are y'all saying don't even bother using a snake bite kit to try to get some of the venom out? I thought that was at least somewhat helpful, but it seems like the consensus here is to not waste your time. What about if you're (as Bobcat mentioned) solo and really far from help? Would it then be more helpful to try to get some venom out to minimize the effects, or just get to hiking and hope for the best?


Here's a link to the best synopsis I've seen on snakebite first aid:

Self-Care Snakebite Treatment (http://www.emedicinehealth.com/snakebite/page5_em.htm)

The old cut-and-suck method is no longer recommended, especially the cutting part. I used to carry a Sawyer Extractor, which is a fancy suction device, but the last time I did my WFR (Wilderness First Responder) refresher, I was told it didn't do any good. The way it was explained to me was to envision getting an intra-muscular injection and then imagine trying to suction any of the drug out of your muscle. I was told it doesn't work.

For a while people were using electric shock treatment to try to neutralize the proteins in the venom, but this is no longer recommended. I used to lead trips in southern Mexico and northern Central America and we carried a tazer (as well as antivenin) but luckily we never had to use either.  We used to wonder how this particular treatment ever got started. I can just see a group of guys standing around after someone is bitten - "Hey, Joe just got hit by a fer-de-lance; let's hook him up to the battery and see what happens!"

I was also taught in the past to use a constricting band, such as a rubber band like TJ described (not a tourniquet), between the bite and the heart.  In the last few years I've also been told not to use this.

If I was day-hiking by myself in the U.S. and was envenomated by a poisonous snake, I think I'd monitor myself and try to walk out slowly. If I had a cell phone, satellite phone or radio I'd call for help, but unless I'm leading a trip I don't carry things like that.  Maybe this is one argument for carrying a cell phone and providing service. If I couldn't walk out, I guess I'd try to make myself as comfortable as possible and hope for the best.
Title: Re: Snakebite Treatment
Post by: tjavery on May 12, 2006, 10:04:24 PM
Quote from: "Joe"
Here's a link to the best synopsis I've seen on snakebite first aid:

Self-Care Snakebite Treatment (http://www.emedicinehealth.com/snakebite/page5_em.htm)


Thanks for the great link, Joe. I noticed two important points:

1.  Second, the affected limb should be used as little as possible to delay absorption of the venom.

2.  Do NOT use tourniquets or constriction bands. These have not been proven effective, may cause increased tissue damage, and could cost the victim a limb.

I'll foward this to my survivalist-friend and see what he says  :wink:  Perhaps he's not fully up to date, or there's still conflicting theories out there.
Title: Re: Snakebite Treatment
Post by: SHANEA on May 28, 2006, 05:40:27 PM
Quote from: "tjavery"

1.  Second, the affected limb should be used as little as possible to delay absorption of the venom.

2.  Do NOT use tourniquets or constriction bands. These have not been proven effective, may cause increased tissue damage, and could cost the victim a limb.


I wish I'd have really read this snake bite stuff before we left.  NO, no one got bit by a snake or anything, but me and my hiking buddy got into a discussion on what to do if you are bit say up on top of Emory Peak or the south rim, a long ways from the basin and help.  He's an Eagle Scout and a Scout Master and his understanding of what we would do up there would be to restrict the limb as much as possible - ie. arm/hand - tie it up behind the head, get rid of the packs except water, and make it down the basin.  My thought would be for the person bit to stay put with water and the other make a quick decent to the basin for help.  He said that it would take too long for help to arrive, they wouldn't send a copter, etc.

It would be interesting to hear the take on the proper official procedure by the NPS BIBE staff.  Surely someone has been bit by a rattlesnake at BIBE before up in the Chisos mountains a long way from the basin or out in the desert along Black Gap or River Road - a long ways from help - of course, if you are in the desert you might be close to a vehicle.  Eric Leonard?  WindChime? Terlingua Medic?  

Of course, the best treatment is to not get bit in the first place.  Be Careful out there.
Title: Snakebites
Post by: JeffB on August 08, 2006, 10:15:53 PM
Sounds like a great adventure.  Thanks for the report.

About poisonous snakebites.   No snakebite kits.  The best advice is very simple:

Get to the emergency room as quickly as possible and keep your heart rate as low as possible (stay calm).  Important:  Know what kind of snake bit you as the treatment is different for each species
If you cant identify the snake then take it with you (dead is OK in this case).

In Big Bend it will most likely be a western diamondback but could be a mojave.  Or a copperhead.

Could also be a rock rattlesnake.  if it is a rock rattler you are probably very high up and far away from transportation and hospital. The venom is neurotoxic. Just go ahead and die. :shock:

Here's an old poisonous snakes post in the Pic Post section:
http://www.bigbendchat.com/portal/forum/index.php?topic=211.0&highlight=
Title: snakebites in the park
Post by: Windchime on August 10, 2006, 07:50:07 PM
Checked with Gino in Maintenance who was raised in this area and has been with the park for many years. He recalls no one being bit by a rattler in the mountains...if it happened, he said, they made it out OK or he would have heard about it. He has seen a lot of Diamondbacks up there, but never got close to being bitten. Copperheads are found along the river. Mojave are not usually found above 4,000 ft. elevation. Gino says they are much slower than a Diamondback, but deadly. From what I understand, the rock rattler is neurotoxic, but not nearly as much as the Mojave. When Tom was bitten by a rattler a couple of years ago...the jury is out as to whether it was a Mexican Blacktail or a Diamondback...they gave him synthetic anti-venom which is good for Eastern Diamondback, Western Diamondback and, if my memory is correct, Mojave. Tom might want to refresh my memory here and add any recollection of anyone being bit up in the mountains...he has been in the pack 20 years or more. Not giving away his age...he must have been 15 years old when he got a job with the park :)
Title: Snakebites
Post by: JeffB on August 10, 2006, 11:28:34 PM
Quote from: "Windchime"
From what I understand, the rock rattler is neurotoxic, but not nearly as much as the Mojave. When Tom was bitten by a rattler a couple of years ago...the jury is out as to whether it was a Mexican Blacktail or a Diamondback...they gave him synthetic anti-venom which is good for Eastern Diamondback, Western Diamondback and, if my memory is correct, Mojave


If you are bitten by any poisonous snake you'll universally get Crofab antivenom.  There is only one other antivenom that I know of and it is no longer produced and rarely administered.  

I've read conflicting reports about the neurotoxicity of Banded RocK Rattlers.  Its variable between Type A and Type B neuro-venom.  All reports say it is not as neurotoxic or as voluminous as Mojave venom.  The blessing is that Majaves are found in lower elevations and therefore closer (hopefully) to rescue transportation.  The banded rock rattler tends to be found in the highest, most difficult terrain.  The one we found was on top of Casa Grande.  The hike down would be treacherous enough without paralyzing neurotoxic venom.  

A vital difference in terms of treatment between hemotoxic (w.diamondback, black-tail, copperhead) and neurotoxic (Mojave, Banded Rock rattler)  is diagnosis.  Neurotoxic venom can be decieving because it results in minimal local tissue necrosis.  The hospital may delay giving antivenom because of lack of tissue necrosis and risk of a severe allergic reaction to the Crofab.  Knowing the species of snake helps determine severity of envenomation and how aggressively to treat with Crofab.  

It is not recommended to try capture or kill the snake because you risk another bite.  But it is very helpful to know the difference between hemotoxic or neurotoxic snake.



From Sean P Bush, MD, FACEP, Professor of Emergency Medicine, Loma Linda University School of Medicine; Consulting Staff, Envenomation Specialist, Department of Emergency Medicine, Loma Linda University Medical Center:


Prehospital Care: Do nothing to injure the patient or impede travel to the ED.

    * Provide general support of airway, breathing, and circulation per advanced cardiac life support (ACLS) protocol; use oxygen, monitors, 2 large-bore intravenous lines (but minimize sticks when possible), and fluid challenge. In addition, minimize activity (if possible), remove jewelry or tight-fitting clothes in anticipation of swelling, and transport the patient to the ED as quickly and as safely as possible. Mark and time the border of advancing tenderness and edema often enough to gauge progression. No benefit was demonstrated when a negative pressure venom extraction device (eg, The Extractor from Sawyer Products) was evaluated in recent studies. Incision across fang marks is not recommended. Mouth suction is contraindicated.

    * Maintain the extremity in a neutral position of comfort.

    * Lymphatic constriction bands and pressure immobilization techniques may inhibit the spread of venom, but whether they improve outcome is not clear. These techniques may actually be deleterious for pit viper envenomation if they increase local necrosis or compartment pressure. Special consideration of these techniques may be warranted for confirmed Venom A Mohave rattlesnake bites because local tissue injury is usually less. However, this application has not specifically been studied. Furthermore, it may not be possible to distinguish Venom A from Venom B snakes just by looking at the snake. The use of tourniquets is not recommended.

    * First aid techniques that lack therapeutic value or are potentially more harmful than the snakebite include electric shock, alcohol, stimulants, aspirin, ice application, and various folk and herbal remedies. Cost and risk of acute adverse reactions generally preclude field use of antivenom.

    * Although identification of the snake in suspected Mohave rattlesnake bites may be helpful, attempts to capture or kill the snake are not recommended because of the risk of additional injury. If the venomousness of a particular snake is uncertain, consider taking photographs of the snake from a safe distance of at least 6 feet away using a digital or Polaroid camera.

Emergency Department Care: Adequate hydration with intravenous fluids is indicated. Patients with hypotension should be resuscitated first with 2 isotonic sodium chloride solution challenges (eg, 20 mL/kg). Treat persistent shock with colloids, followed by pressors as indicated.

    * Patients with Mohave rattlesnake envenomation may present with predominantly systemic and laboratory abnormalities, with only mild local and no hematological effects.

    * Administer antivenom for signs of envenomation progression or imminent risk of an acute complication of envenomation (see Complications).

    * Because Crotaline Fab antivenom (CroFab) appears safer than Antivenin Crotalidae Polyvalent, it is indicated even if the envenomation is minimal mild. It should be given as a preventative measure if there are any signs of envenomation at all. Do not wait for it to get worseópermanent injury could result.

    * Grading envenomations is a dynamic process; administer additional antivenom as indicated by a worsening clinical course. When considering the use of antivenom, weigh the risk of adverse reaction to antivenom against the benefits of reducing venom toxicity.

    * Nonenvenomation, ie, dry bite (probably occurs in <10% of rattlesnake bites)

          o Local effects - Puncture wounds only

          o Systemic effects - None

          o Coagulation abnormalities - No laboratory evidence of coagulation abnormalities and no clinical evidence of abnormal bleeding or clotting

    * Minimal or mild envenomation

          o Local effects - Swelling, pain, tenderness, and/or ecchymosis confined to the immediate bite area

          o Systemic effects - None

          o Coagulation abnormalities - No laboratory evidence of coagulation abnormalities and no clinical evidence of abnormal bleeding or clotting

    * Moderate envenomation

          o Local effects - Swelling, pain, tenderness, and/or ecchymosis extending beyond the immediate bite area but involving less than the entire part

          o Systemic effects - Present but not life threatening; may include nausea, vomiting, oral paresthesias or unusual tastes, fasciculations (myokymia), mild hypotension (systolic blood pressure <90 mm Hg), mild tachycardia (heart rate <150 bpm), and tachypnea

          o Coagulation abnormalities - Laboratory evidence of coagulation abnormalities may be present, but no clinical evidence of abnormal bleeding or clotting exists; rattlesnake venomĖinduced coagulopathies commonly include thrombocytopenia, decreased fibrinogen, and/or elevated PT

    * Severe envenomation

          o Local effects - Swelling, pain, tenderness, and/or ecchymosis extending beyond the entire extremity or threatening the airway

          o Systemic effects - May include severe hypotension or shock, severe tachycardia or tachypnea, respiratory insufficiency, and/or severe altered mental status

          o Coagulation abnormalities - Markedly abnormal with serious bleeding or severe threat of bleeding
Title: Dang
Post by: SHANEA on August 11, 2006, 12:59:21 AM
I think I'll just continue to do my best and not get bit.   Based on the prescribing information, should be admin. w/i 6 hours.   Isn't it true if you are hiking in a line that the first person won't get bit, it's the 2nd and/or 3rd that get bit?  Reminder to self - always be the lead dog.  My Pappy used to say all you had to do was put your lariet around your bed roll as them snakes won't cross a rope.  

http://www.rmpdc.org/crofab/packageinsert.cfm
Title: Out of Curosity..
Post by: SHANEA on August 11, 2006, 01:01:18 AM
Quote from: "JeffB"

I've read conflicting reports about the neurotoxicity of Banded RocK Rattlers.  Its variable between Type A and Type B neuro-venom.


Out of curosity, what do you do for a living or what is your educational background?
Title: Re: Dang
Post by: RichardM on August 11, 2006, 08:49:42 AM
Quote from: "SHANEA"
I think I'll just continue to do my best and not get bit.

Time for the classic Last Chance to See (http://www.tdv.com/lastchance/) interview by Douglas Adams:

Quote from: "Douglas Adams"
There is in Melbourne a man who probably knows more about poisonous snakes than anyone else on earth. His name is Dr Struan Sutherland, and he has devoted his entire life to a study of venom.
"And I'm bored with talking about it," he said when we went along to see him the next morning, laden with tape recorders and note books. "Can't stand all these poisonous creatures, all these snakes and insects and fish and things. Wretched things, biting everybody. And then people expect me to tell them what to do about it. I'll tell them what to do. Don't get bitten in the first place. That's the answer. I've had enough of telling people all the time. Hydroponics, now, that's interesting. Talk to you all you like about hydroponics. Fascinating stuff, growing plants artificially in water, very interesting technique. We'll need to know all about it if we're going to go to Mars and places. Where did you say you were going?"
"Komodo."
"Well, don't get bitten, that's all I can say. And don't come running to me if you do because you won't get here in time and anyway I've got enough on my plate. Look at this office. Full of poisonous animals all over the place. See this tank? It's full of fire ants. Venomous little creatures, what are we going to do about them? Anyway, I got some little cakes in in case you were hungry. Would you like some little cakes? I can't remember where I put them. There's some tea but it's not very good. Sit down for heaven's sake.
"So, you're going to Komodo. Well, I don't know why you want to do that, but I suppose you have your reasons. There are fifteen different types of snake on Komodo, and half of them are poisonous. The only potentially deadly ones are the Russell's viper, the bamboo viper and the Indian cobra.
"The Indian cobra is the fifteenth deadliest snake in the world, and all the other fourteen are here in Australia. That's why it's so hard for me to find time to get on with my hydroponics, with all these snakes all over the place.
"And spiders. The most poisonous spider is the Sydney funnel web. We get about five hundred people a year bitten by spiders. A lot of them used to die, so we had to develop an antidote to stop people bothering me with it all the time. Took us years. Then we developed this snake bite detector kit. Not that you need a kit to tell you when you've been bitten by a snake, you usually know, but the kit is something that will detect what type you've been bitten by so you can treat it properly.
"Would you like to see a kit? I've got a couple here in the venom fridge. Let's have a look. Ah look, the cakes are in here too. Quick, have one while they're still fresh. Fairy cakes, I baked 'em myself."
He handed round the snake venom detection kits and his home baked fairy cakes and retreated back to his desk, where he beamed at us cheerfully from behind his curly beard and bow tie. We admired the kits, which were small, efficient boxes neatly packed with tiny bottles, a pipette, a syringe and a complicated set of instructions that I wouldn't want to have to read for the first time in a panic, and then we asked him how many of the snakes he had been bitten by himself.
"None of 'em," he said. "Another area of expertise I've developed is that of getting other people to handle the dangerous animals. Won't do it myself. Don't want to get bitten, do I? You know what it says on my book jackets? "Hobbies: gardening ≠ with gloves; fishing ≠ with boots; travelling ≠ with care." That's the answer. What else? Well, in addition to the boots wear thick, baggy trousers, and preferably have half a dozen people tramping along in front of you making as much noise as possible. The snakes pick up the vibrations and get out of your way, unless it's a death adder, otherwise known as the deaf adder, which just lies there. People can walk right past it and over it and nothing happens. I've heard of twelve people in a line walking over a death adder and the twelfth person accidentally trod on it and got bitten. Normally you're quite safe if you're twelfth in line. You're not eating your cakes. Come on, get them down you, there's plenty more in the venom fridge."
We asked, tentatively, if we could perhaps take a snake bite detector kit with us to Komodo.
"Course you can, course you can. Take as many as you like. Won't do you a blind bit of good because they're only for Australian snakes."
"So what do we do if we get bitten by something deadly, then?" I asked.
He blinked at me as if I were stupid.
"Well what do you think you do?" he said. "You die of course. That's what deadly means."

"But what about cutting open the wound and sucking out the poison?" I asked.
"Rather you than me," he said. "I wouldn't want a mouthful of poison. Shouldn't do you any harm, though. Snake toxins have a high molecular weight, so they won't penetrate the blood vessels in the mouth the way that alcohol or some drugs do, and then the poison gets destroyed by the acids in your stomach. But's it's not necessarily going to do much good, either. You're not likely to be able to get much of the poison out, but you're probably going to make the wound a lot worse trying. And in a place like Komodo it means you'd quickly have a seriously infected wound to contend with as well as a leg full of poison. Septicaemia, gangrene, you name it. It'll kill you."
"What about a tourniquet?"
"Fine if you don't mind having your leg off afterwards. You'd have to because if you cut off the blood supply to it completely it'll just die. And if you can find anyone in that part of Indonesia who you'd trust to take your leg off then you're a braver man than me. No, I'll tell you: the only thing you can do is apply a pressure bandage direct to the wound and wrap the whole leg up tightly, but not too tightly. Slow the blood flow but don't cut it off or you'll lose the leg. Hold your leg, or whatever bit you've been bitten in, lower than your heart and your head. Keep very, very still, breathe slowly and get to a doctor immediately. If you're on Komodo that means a couple of days, by which time you'll be well dead.
"The only answer, and I mean this quite seriously, is don't get bitten. There's no reason why you should. Any of the snakes there will get out of your way well before you even see them. You don't really need to worry about the snakes if you're careful. No, the things you really need to worry about are the marine creatures."
"What?"
"Scorpion fish, stonefish, sea snakes. Much more poisonous than anything on land. Get stung by a stone fish and the pain alone can kill you. People drown themselves just to stop the pain."
"Where are all these things?"
"Oh, just in the sea. Tons of them. I wouldn't go near it if I were you. Full of poisonous animals. Hate them."
"Is there anything you do like?"
"Yes," he said. "Hydroponics."


P.S.  If I get around to it, I'll probably split this snakebite thread off to its own topic in the advice/recommendations forum.
Title: Snakebites
Post by: Bobcat on August 11, 2006, 09:00:15 AM
Dr SS should live in a bubble.  But, seriously, folks... :lol:
Title: Snake Bite / Tazer
Post by: Undertaker on August 11, 2006, 12:57:15 PM
After traveling all over the place hiking, hunting, fishing and with Uncle Sam and spending 25 some-odd years as a medic.  Simple rule is don't get bit, watch were you walk (hard to do in BB because of view). Try to remain calm (As a medic, I have never found this hard to do, but I am not the guy shot, having a heart attack or bitten by snake).  Simple rules try not to get bit, if you are bitten, try to remain calm (see above) seek medical help ASAP. Most bites are not "HOT", but waiting to find out in wild is great way of feeding the critters.  

Tazer: Right!!!!, I just got snake bit and while remaining calm (again see above), some AH hits me with 50,000 volts, yep, that will tend to settle you down (again see remain calm above). Undertaker
Title: Re: Snake Bite / Tazer
Post by: SHANEA on August 11, 2006, 03:18:18 PM
Quote from: "Undertaker"
(As a medic,


And I thought you were a grave digger.  Not sure I'd want a medic that calls himself the undertaker :lol:  :D  :shock:  8)
Title: Re: Snake Bite / Tazer
Post by: Undertaker on August 11, 2006, 04:24:09 PM
Quote from: "SHANEA"
Quote from: "Undertaker"
(As a medic,


And I thought you were a grave digger.  Not sure I'd want a medic that calls himself the undertaker :lol:  :D  :shock:  8)


Actually Undertaker comes from our BBQ Team, as Doc was already taken when we formed new/old team.  Still trying to find out what medic does for living.  Enjoyed comments on snake bites, our backpacking boy scout troop had the motto, "If you die on the trail, we split up your gear", nice motto in my mind, you could get some really good backpacking gear and maybe shoes if they fit. Undertaker

PS: BBQ team is www.wildwestcookers .com
Title: Re: Snake Bite / Tazer
Post by: SHANEA on August 11, 2006, 04:58:27 PM
Quote from: "Undertaker"
"If you die on the trail


Out motto is "don't fck up the trip by getting hurt".  We carry body bags for those that die on the trail - pick em up on the way out.   :shock:
Title: Re: Snake Bite / Tazer
Post by: Undertaker on August 11, 2006, 05:35:10 PM
Quote from: "SHANEA"
Quote from: "Undertaker"
"If you die on the trail


Out motto is "don't fck up the trip by getting hurt".  We carry body bags for those that die on the trail - pick em up on the way out.   :shock:


I like yours better but at the time we were constrained by Boy Scout criteria as some lady hikers were present.  By the way Undertaker is not a grave digger, my policy is U plug Em, I plant Em. As hard as the ground is in BB, I would not want to be grave digger. Besides, I plan to be pre-embalmed at Terlinga Store, Boatyard or La Kiva. In heat body bag would ballon up, leave the body alone and let the local critters have some dinner, to much extra weight (body bags), weight would be better served by replacing with water and 18 year old scotch. Two birds with one stone. Undertaker
Title: Re: Out of Curosity..
Post by: JeffB on August 11, 2006, 06:12:13 PM
Quote from: "SHANEA"
Quote from: "JeffB"

I've read conflicting reports about the neurotoxicity of Banded RocK Rattlers.  Its variable between Type A and Type B neuro-venom.


Out of curosity, what do you do for a living or what is your educational background?


Analytical chemist at Xenco Laboratories in Houston.   Millennium Labs in The Woodlands and Inter-Mountain Labs in College Station before that.  No formal education/experience in herpetology.  The only animal studies I've participated in was fish in border waters of south Texas:  found high levels of mercury especially in older, bottom feeding fish.  Don't eat that big old catfish you caught in the Rio Grande.

Off-topic but interesting:
One of my Chem profs at A&M was Dr. Rowe, an expert in American Indian rock art.  He pioneered radiochemical dating methods to determine  age of pictographs. He brought a slide show to class of his BBNP expedition. The common red pictographs in the trans-pecos are about 1000-1200 years old.  Some date to 4500 years or older.
Some links if you find this interesting:
http://www.chem.tamu.edu/faculty/faculty_detail.php?ID=67
http://www.sulross.edu/~cbbs/news2000.html
http://www.texasbeyondhistory.net/pecos/art.html
http://history.utah.gov/archaeology/public_archaeology/zinj/datingancientrockpaintings.html


I'd love to get venom from various snakes at Big Bend and take it back to the lab.  My understanding is that snake venom varies widely by region even among the same species.  It would be really cool to have data on the local snakes and  find out wether any of them actually have a significant amount of neurotoxic venom.   The problem is getting the venom.  I love hunting snakes but I'm not too keen on handling them.
Title: Re: Out of Curosity..
Post by: SHANEA on August 11, 2006, 06:22:12 PM
Quote from: "JeffB"
Analytical chemist at Xenco Laboratories in Houston.....
I'd love to get venom from various snakes at Big Bend and take it back to the lab..... The problem is getting the venom.  I love hunting snakes but I'm not too keen on handling them.


PhD? - I figured you were a chemist or a Dr. or something along them there lines.  You seem to know your "stuff".  I had to cheat my way through high school chemestry to graduate  :shock: never could get a handle on that "stuff".   Hey, it's been 25 years since my HS days - I don't think they will be yanking my HS diploma anytime soon :shock:  Heck, my HS hardly even exists anymore.  Metal detectors on all floors and entrances, policemen everywhere - real policemen too - with guns, drug dogs, and to top it all off - they got rid of football  :shock:  and replaced it with soccer and got rid of fall homecoming and replaced it with spring homecoming.  8)  

Let me know when you go snake hunting at BIBE or anywhere else, I'll make sure that I'm NOT anywhere nearby.   8)
Title: Snakebites
Post by: JeffB on August 11, 2006, 06:33:36 PM
Come on Shane, I hoped you'd be our "Venom Collector".  
I'll hold the camera and you can rassle the snakes.
Title: Depends...
Post by: SHANEA on August 11, 2006, 07:53:17 PM
Quote from: "JeffB"
Come on Shane, I hoped you'd be our "Venom Collector".  
I'll hold the camera and you can rassle the snakes.


Depends on what it pays.  Starting price is 7 figures before the decimal point.
Title: Re: Depends...
Post by: Undertaker on August 11, 2006, 09:23:17 PM
Quote from: "SHANEA"
Quote from: "JeffB"
Come on Shane, I hoped you'd be our "Venom Collector".  
I'll hold the camera and you can rassle the snakes.


Depends on what it pays.  Starting price is 7 figures before the decimal point.


From the standpoint of the Undertaker, you can only collect if you are alive to do so.  However; from the perspective of gaining knowledge, I would love to watch an expert handle (rassel) a 6 footer. I will bring the alcohol, just in case it's needed. Jeff and I will taste a representitive sample or two or three, while you enlighten us with ability in handling deadly (KEY WORD) reptiles.

On the more serious side, I have read somewhere that our friendly desert snakes have been found to have more of a blend of nureo/hemo toxin than they were thought to have in the past. I guess the Undertaker needs to review/brush up on current data.

Furthermore, as I have said before, I "was" a medic for over 25 years. I would recommend that If you are going to rassel deadly (that kew word again) reptiles,that you do it in the emergency ward of a hospital with experience in snake bites or one or two or three, depending on your ablility.  Undertaker

PS: Almost forgot to mention check out VenomusReptiles.org before you rassel, several pages of nasty results of snake bites.
Title: Re: snakebites in the park
Post by: BIBEARCH on August 17, 2006, 10:53:22 AM
Quote from: "Windchime"
When Tom was bitten by a rattler a couple of years ago...the jury is out as to whether it was a Mexican Blacktail or a Diamondback...they gave him synthetic anti-venom which is good for Eastern Diamondback, Western Diamondback and, if my memory is correct, Mojave. Tom might want to refresh my memory here and add any recollection of anyone being bit up in the mountains...he has been in the pack 20 years or more. Not giving away his age...he must have been 15 years old when he got a job with the park :)


Haven't checked the chat page for awhile...

Thanks for not giving away my age -- I've been working in the park for the past 24 years and been in the park including the past 24 for a total of about 35 years of hiking in the Bend. Seen lots of snakes, jumped over a couple when I was going too fast to see them soon enough. Learned to slow down...and look. Even then, I still got bitten.

There's lots of good info on this thread that brings us to the conclusion that all those old field methods are out the window. When I was bitten, I was fortunately on the side of the road about 4 miles from headquarters.

Briefly stated, I was in the park ambulance within 20 minutes of being bitten, headed for Alpine. The park EMT called ahead to confirm that Alpine had antivenin on hand, otherwise it would have been Fort Stockton or Midland/Odessa. Bitten around 3:30 pm, laid in the emergency room in Alpine and didn't get the first antivenin until around 11 pm. CroFab was administered from Friday afternoon until the following Monday - total of 8 vials at about $3500 per vial. The main consideration if you are bitten -- have good insurance coverage! CroFab is made from the venom of five species of rattlesnake, including the Mojave, so it contains properties to neutralize hemotoxin as well as neurotoxin. My main problem came from the steroid injections they gave during the first five days in the hospital. I didn't know that steroids make some people retain fluid. Tuesday night, I didn't have abdominal capacity to hold the excellent meal my wife fixed, couldn't sleep because I couldn't get a deep breath, got up Wednesday morning and wife loaded me in the back of our truck and -- back to the emergency room. I had 30 extra pounds of fluid in my body, which had settled in my lungs which gave me pneumonia. From Wednesday til the following Saturday, I got respiratory treatments for the pneumonia and drank several gallons of cranberry juice as a diuretic to dump the fluid. By Saturday, I was 25 pounds lighter with a very clear urinary tract! They wanted to shoot me up with Lasix to get rid of the fluid and I opted to go the more natural cranberry juice route, which I know from experience to be an excellent diuretic.

CroFab is the current treatment of choice. If bitten in the wilderness, bend over, kiss your sweet a.........No, the main thing is to remain calm - not something most people could do because after about the first 30 minutes, the venom begins digesting your tissue and the pain is difficult to describe at best. "Excruciating" doesn't do it justice. Slowly getting out to transportation, trying to immobilize the affected limb - people ususally get bitten on the extremities - and getting to a hospital as soon as possible is the currently recommended method. Few people actually die from snakebite in this country - thank goodness we don't have fer-de-lance, at least in Texas. Venom is a potent digestive juice and basically begins dissolving muscle tissue. Tissue loss is relatively common around the site of the bite and toward the heart. Your body will eventually replace some of the muscle and you can exercise to rebuild your functionality. There is usually a lot of general damage to the cell structure and the flabby cells will retain fluid for weeks to months after the bite. Your body will attempt to replace the damaged tissue to some degree. Staying active, getting fresh air and excercise, and drink plenty of water to keep your tissues hydrated will facilitate recovery.

When our teenage son was volunteering for the trail crew, they were staying in Boot Cabin. He and a few others were outside playing darts when one of his darts fell next to the cabin foundation. He reached for the dart and felt a stinging pain and thought it was a scorpion. He noticed there were two puncture marks on his finger, looked into the crack to see what bit him, and saw a blacktail. He actually was able to keep his head and they were able to get him down from the Boot in about five hours. By 1 am, he was in the emergency room at Alpine. The best way to describe the apperance of his arm by that time was - take a look at Popeye. Fat hand, fat forearm, and a protruding elbow. Within a week, he was back at work and suffered no tissue loss. His was a mild envenomation by a small snake. Mine was a moderate to major envnomation by a snake that was at least three feet long that bit me on the inside of my right foot. My swelling reached past my groin. Neither of us had the tissue loss that you usually hear about. After about a year, my swelling was essentially gone and only occasionally do I have a wierd twinge at the site of the bite.

The best advice, slow down and enjoy the natural beauty of the place. Watch where you step and where you place your hands and feet (and your posterior - cactus sneak up on you from behind). Simply paying attention and thinking about what you are doing is the best way to avoid any kind of injury - not to mention enabling you to enjoy your hiking experience.

Tom Alex
Big Bend National Park Archeologist
Title: Re: snakebites in the park
Post by: SHANEA on August 17, 2006, 12:14:50 PM
Quote from: "BIBEARCH"
The best advice...


Don't get bit.
Title: Snakebites
Post by: Bobcat on August 17, 2006, 07:28:49 PM
When I was bitten by a Timber Rattlesnake, I knew it was a wet bite within ~10 to 15 seconds.  I spent 10 days in the hospital.  They had to redo my blood basically and I have permanent damage to my left had.  I got the old type antivenom with horse in it.  Consequently, 4 days into the hospitalization, I went into anaphylactic shock.  Anyway, I'm a slow typer as a result of that bite :cry:
Title: September 2006 Backpacker
Post by: SHANEA on August 17, 2006, 10:10:56 PM
(http://i28.photobucket.com/albums/c222/kz5bw5/snakebite.jpg)
Title: Re: Out of Curosity..
Post by: presidio on August 17, 2006, 10:33:45 PM
Quote from: "SHANEA"
Heck, my HS hardly even exists anymore.  Metal detectors on all floors and entrances, policemen everywhere - real policemen too - with guns, drug dogs


Who remembers the days when you went to high school with a rifle in the window rack of your pickup and didn't bother to lock the vehicle? Nobody got hurt, no guns were stolen, nobody got stupid and you even occasionally showed it off in the parking lot.

Try that today, even by mistake. It would be a SWAT situation for sure. You might get out of jail in a couple of years. Heck, I remember being in ROTC, where we carried REAL M1 Garands all over school and had a rifle team that competed in inter-school competitions, shooting real bullets. Can you imagine that happening today? Most people can't even believe it ever was that way.

Of course, back then, if you did screw up in school they usually didn't wait for a parent-teacher conference, they just took care of business and did on the spot problem resolution. Your feelings and feng shui were not considered and you didn't get any aroma therapy. But, you most likely didn't do whatever it was that brought you to their attention again.

Was anyone permanently harmed? Noboby I know.
Title: Snakebites
Post by: JeffB on August 20, 2006, 08:50:18 PM
Great information from BIBEARCH.  I'm glad to hear y'all had good treatment and recoveries.  I didn't know the park had an ambulance service.  That brings up a good question:

If one of us is bitten at the park, what is the emergency number to call?  And where is the nearest hospital that has antivenom? This would be great information to carry with me on the next trip.

We had a near-miss on the trail to the chimneys last year. Hiking at night, my friend stepped right over a western diamondback.  I was about 10 feet behind him and almost stepped right on it.

And a side question:  where is the best place to dine on rattlesnake?  I've heard there is a restaurant associated with Lajitas Resort that serves a rattlesnake dish.  I've also heard that it is surprisingly very good.
Title: Snakebites
Post by: chisos_muse on August 20, 2006, 08:53:36 PM
Quote from: "JeffB"
Great information from BIBEARCH.  I'm glad to hear y'all had good treatment and recoveries.  I didn't know the park had an ambulance service.  That brings up a good question:

If one of us is bitten at the park, what is the emergency number to call?  And where is the nearest hospital that has antivenom? This would be great information to carry with me on the next trip.

We had a near-miss on the trail to the chimneys last year. Hiking at night, my friend stepped right over a western diamondback.  I was about 10 feet behind him and almost stepped right on it.

And a side question:  where is the best place to dine on rattlesnake?  I've heard there is a restaurant associated with Lajitas Resort that serves a rattlesnake dish.  I've also heard that it is surprisingly very good.



Yes, I've had the rattlesnake cakes at Ocotillo....they were "OK" at best....and NO, they didn't taste like chicken! :?
Title: Chicken
Post by: Undertaker on August 20, 2006, 09:03:28 PM
I have yet to have anyone tell me what does chicken taste like? Eveyone compares everything to chicken, somebody compare chicken to something.  I like my chicken fried, tried rattler BBQed and Fried I am not sure I can compare it to anything.   :wink:

Undertaker
Title: Snakebites
Post by: JeffB on August 20, 2006, 09:10:28 PM
Quote from: "chisos_muse"

Yes, I've had the rattlesnake cakes at Ocotillo....they were "OK" at best....and NO, they didn't taste like chicken! :?


Seems like everything "tastes like chicken".   we caught a bonnethead shark at San Luis Pass this weekend and my friend kept it to cook.  He says shark tastes more like chicken than fish.  

I figured rattlesnake wouldn't be that good.  How is the Ocotillo restaurant in general?  I guess we'd have to clean up and put on some fancy clothes to go in there.
Title: Snakebites
Post by: chisos_muse on August 20, 2006, 09:15:48 PM
Quote from: "JeffB"
Quote from: "chisos_muse"

Yes, I've had the rattlesnake cakes at Ocotillo....they were "OK" at best....and NO, they didn't taste like chicken! :?


Seems like everything "tastes like chicken".   we caught a bonnethead shark at San Luis Pass this weekend and my friend kept it to cook.  He says shark tastes more like chicken than fish.  

I figured rattlesnake wouldn't be that good.  How is the Ocotillo restaurant in general?  I guess we'd have to clean up and put on some fancy clothes to go in there.



Not at all! (clean up)
Well, the last time I ate there was a few years back and that chef isn't there anymore....I WILL say that the food was good, but overpriced for what it was. They've prolly changed their menu a bit by now.

I will say that every time I've eaten at the Starlight it has been quite tasty! :D
Title: Second That on Starlite
Post by: Undertaker on August 20, 2006, 09:21:08 PM
Food has always been good, plenty of it, beer cold and I don't have to take out a loan to eat.  Basin also has good burger, not sure of prices as I seldom have eaten in basin except after hiking. Since I will be visiting Sept 1-4, and staying at basin, I suspect I will find out.
Undertaker

PS: How are diesel fuel prices in park.
Title: Snakebites
Post by: BIBEARCH on August 21, 2006, 09:18:23 AM
Quote from: "JeffB"
Great information from BIBEARCH.  I'm glad to hear y'all had good treatment and recoveries.  I didn't know the park had an ambulance service.  That brings up a good question:

If one of us is bitten at the park, what is the emergency number to call?  And where is the nearest hospital that has antivenom? This would be great information to carry with me on the next trip.


The main park phone number goes to an automated answering machine with the first option "..if this is an emergency, dial 9 now.."

During normal daytime hours, 8-5, the call will be directed to park dispatch. After hours, the call is directed to 911 in Alpine, who will in turn contact  someone either in the park or at Terlingua Medics.

Having occasion to use 911 recently to report an injury about 4 miles off pavement on Terlingua Ranch, I was duly impressed with the response time from Terlingua Medics. The 911 emergency system works fairly well when the response goes to an obvious well-known location. In this case,  I had to stand by and guide them to the location.

As Medic says, remember that it's 100 miles to the nearest hospital, and if they don't have antivenin on hand, its Fort Stockton or Midland/Odessa....

Don't get bit...

Tom Alex
Title: Snakebites
Post by: Windchime on August 21, 2006, 03:28:09 PM
Quote from: "JeffB"
Great information from BIBEARCH.  I'm glad to hear y'all had good treatment and recoveries.  I didn't know the park had an ambulance service.  That brings up a good question:

If one of us is bitten at the park, what is the emergency number to call?  And where is the nearest hospital that has antivenom? This would be great information to carry with me on the next trip..


Call 911 for emergencies in the park. The Alpine hospital usually stocks the antivenom.
Title: Snakebites
Post by: JeffB on August 21, 2006, 09:53:23 PM
Thats good to know when your hiking buddy is as dumb as this...

(http://bigbend.homeip.net/Big%20Bend/BigBend05/slides/DSC03305.jpg)

I'll beat him over the head with my hiking stick before he attempts something like this again.  Maybe I should email him some of those gruesome pictures of swollen appendages before we head out on Aug 31.
Title: Snakebites
Post by: bdann on August 21, 2006, 10:04:23 PM
man, if someone hiking with me pulled something like that, there is no doubt they'd get a good whack in the head from me.
Title: That's Right
Post by: Undertaker on August 21, 2006, 10:08:53 PM
That's Right PO the deadly reptile, then wonder why you got bit.  The remember the nearest hospital is ALPINE approximately 2 hours away filled with pain and agony. :shock:   [-X  Undertaker
Title: Lest We Forget
Post by: SHANEA on August 21, 2006, 11:26:01 PM
That molesting the animals in the protected confines of the National Park and more especially BIBE is strictly prohibited.  

I guess I've got some really good hiking / camping buddies - as no one ever pulls any shit like that.  I did have one friend that wanted to chase a bear at BGWMA so I could get a picture, but I prevailed upon him that it wasn't a good idea.

Quote
Do not feed park animals, including birds. Feeding animals is unhealthy for the animal and invites human/animal confrontations.
∑ Protect the park by not possessing, destroying, injuring, defacing, removing, digging, or disturbing plants, animals, fossils, rocks, or artifacts.


I think that would be classified as disturbing that snake.

http://www.nps.gov/bibe/visit/campreg.htm
Title: Snakebites
Post by: chisos_muse on August 22, 2006, 07:58:18 AM
Jeffy that's not good! :x
As a Junior Ranger of BIBE I must protest such action....Mebbe this pic should be deleted before Big Daddy's Leonard or Alex see it...
Title: Snakebites
Post by: homerboy2u on August 22, 2006, 08:12:25 AM
Wow JeffB...I just showed your pictureto an uncle of mine who has cattle in the mountains....Said he had never seen somebody try to do that. It's just like seeing if the fire is hot... Don't let your buddy go out alone. :?
Title: Snakebites
Post by: BIBEARCH on August 22, 2006, 08:35:43 AM
Quote from: "JeffB"
Thats good to know when your hiking buddy is as dumb as this...

I'll beat him over the head with my hiking stick before he attempts something like this again.  Maybe I should email him some of those gruesome pictures of swollen appendages before we head out on Aug 31.


On our own property outside the park, we usually try to capture and relocate rattlesnakes, but we certainly don't do it this way. Most incidents involving reptiles in this country are from inattention or blatant stupidity. I love walking in the desert under a full moon -- the desert takes on a singularly spectacular atmosphere. But, that's also when the little buggers like to lay out and wait for mice and other prey.

Don't get bit...
Title: Get Em.
Post by: SHANEA on August 22, 2006, 01:13:07 PM
Quote from: "chisos_muse"
Jeffy that's not good! :x
As a Junior Ranger of BIBE I must protest such action....Mebbe this pic should be deleted before Big Daddy's Leonard or Alex see it...


You Get'em Ms. Kitty!  Show them your official badge!
Title: Re: Get Em.
Post by: chisos_muse on August 22, 2006, 05:52:44 PM
Quote from: "SHANEA"
Quote from: "chisos_muse"
Jeffy that's not good! :x
As a Junior Ranger of BIBE I must protest such action....Mebbe this pic should be deleted before Big Daddy's Leonard or Alex see it...


You Get'em Ms. Kitty!  Show them your official badge!


All kidding aside, I take that little badge quite seriously. It's probably the closest I'll ever come to being an NPS employee in BIBE. Unfortunately I've had a late start in fulfilling my passions, with the exception of two amazing children and the wonderful man I share my life with now.. :D

I am not perfect, and have broken my share of rules in life, but that park and it's surrounding land are quite precious to me. I don't like to see things tampered with in a negative way, and when I'm there, I really do feel that it is MY responsibility to preserve and protect for all....

PLEASE, respect the land and animals, don't speed, don't deface anything and don't leave food or dirty dishes /trash laying about!  8)

Off the soapbox now..... :oops:
Title: Enjoy
Post by: Undertaker on August 22, 2006, 06:35:29 PM
BB is there to enjoy, being bitten and spending what little vacation most people have in pain in the hospital is not my idea of a good vacation. Undertaker
Title: Re: Get Em.
Post by: JeffB on August 22, 2006, 10:12:16 PM
Quote from: "chisos_muse"

PLEASE, respect the land and animals, don't speed, don't deface anything and don't leave food or dirty dishes /trash laying about!  8)

Off the soapbox now..... :oops:


Well I actually wasn;t the least bit worried about that snake.  The big worry was how dumb it was and how that could have been a huge mistake for Terry's health.  He also picked up a water moccassin not too long before that at Big Thicket.  I think he's too emboldened by getting away with it.  

We did show the picture to three different rangers and they didn't seem too concerned other than to caution about the danger.  One ranger in the basin store said it was stupid but then proceded to show us some similar pictures on his work computer that he had received by email.  Another informed us it was against official policy but they are more concerned about snake/reptile collecting.

BTW, the snake went on his way without even rattling at us.
Title: Re: Get Em.
Post by: tjavery on August 23, 2006, 07:17:13 AM
Quote from: "chisos_muse"
PLEASE, respect the land and animals, don't speed, don't deface anything and don't leave food or dirty dishes /trash laying about!


Amen to that! And to relate speeding and snakes:

On my very first visit to BB, I had spent a grand total of 5 minutes in the park when I made my first impact on the wildlife - I ran over a snake. Now I suppose most people would just say, "eh... it's only a snake", but I did feel bad about killing an animal, particularly becuase I was slightly speeding and wasn't looking at the road very much (it's too easy to get distracted while driving through the park :) ).

That's when the seriousness of the 45 mph speed limit became suddenly apparent and incredibly important to me. I never bust 45 mph now.
Title: Re: Get Em.
Post by: chisos_muse on August 23, 2006, 07:28:15 AM
Quote from: "JeffB"
Quote from: "chisos_muse"

PLEASE, respect the land and animals, don't speed, don't deface anything and don't leave food or dirty dishes /trash laying about!  8)

Off the soapbox now..... :oops:


Well I actually wasn;t the least bit worried about that snake.  The big worry was how dumb it was and how that could have been a huge mistake for Terry's health.  He also picked up a water moccassin not too long before that at Big Thicket.  I think he's too emboldened by getting away with it.  

We did show the picture to three different rangers and they didn't seem too concerned other than to caution about the danger.  One ranger in the basin store said it was stupid but then proceded to show us some similar pictures on his work computer that he had received by email.  Another informed us it was against official policy but they are more concerned about snake/reptile collecting.

BTW, the snake went on his way without even rattling at us.


Yes, your friend is lucky he wasn't bitten...
So...I'm guessing you're the "Marlin Perkins" to his "Jim"? :roll:

(http://i27.photobucket.com/albums/c153/padme919/bio_jim1.jpg)

Actually, Jim Fowler has a great bio here: http://www.wildkingdom.com/nostalgia/bio_jim.html
Title: Snakebites
Post by: Bobcat on August 23, 2006, 08:05:23 AM
I'll assist a rattlesnake across a road if it's safe to do so.  They're very slow moving and extemely vulnerable to traffic.  I won't do it if a feel that I may create a traffic hazard in a save.
Title: Re: Get Em.
Post by: JeffB on August 23, 2006, 06:49:19 PM
Quote from: "chisos_muse"

Yes, your friend is lucky he wasn't bitten...
So...I'm guessing you're the "Marlin Perkins" to his "Jim"? :roll:

Actually, Jim Fowler has a great bio here: http://www.wildkingdom.com/nostalgia/bio_jim.html


I'm not too sure who is Marlin Perkins but I think that gives both of us too much credit.  We're just a couple of knuckleheads that love the outdoors.

I'll make darn sure there's no snake rassling but I do hope to bring back some great pictures including the trans-pecos copperhead.  Some bear pictures too.

We're heading to the park on Thursday of next week.  The third hiker of our group has backed out and it looks like we're back on our original plan to canoe the canyons.  Also on the agenda to hike to Boot Canyon (bears), south rim and Banta shut-in.  

Between now and Aug. 31st I have to make stops in Dallas (work) , Boca Raton (work) FT Lauderdale (work) and Miami (work) and back to Houston.  
I won't be able to read this forum again until after the trip.

Y'all be good and enjoy your Labor Day trips!  I'm out for this year's Grand Adventure!!  

Much Love, Be Safe,

Jeff
Title: Re: Get Em.
Post by: SHANEA on August 23, 2006, 07:00:54 PM
Quote from: "JeffB"

I'm not too sure who is Marlin Perkins


Ah, showing your age there Musey.   8)   PS.  I know who Marlin Perkins and Jim are.  I used to watch Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom too.  That pair kinda reminds me of Bob Villa.  Marlin/Bob always sit on the sidelines and "supervise" while Jim/Norm do all the work.
Title: Snakebites
Post by: randell on August 24, 2006, 09:59:46 AM
I knew he looked familiar.  I used to love watching Mutual of Omaha.  I'm not as old as you, though, ShaneA :lol:
Title: Guess What
Post by: SHANEA on August 24, 2006, 10:52:25 AM
Quote from: "randell"
I'm not as old as you, though, ShaneA :lol:


Guess what, one day you will be...  :D
Title: Snakebites
Post by: SA Bill on August 25, 2006, 09:54:36 PM
Marlin, from sidelines:
  "Jim will now attempt to artificially inseminate the angry female rhino using only his bare hands and a blindfold."

Jim, confronting less than amorous rhino:
   "AAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYI IIIIIIEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!"

 :wink:
   Bill
Title: Re: Guess What
Post by: RichardM on August 25, 2006, 10:18:03 PM
Quote from: "SHANEA"
Quote from: "randell"
I'm not as old as you, though, ShaneA :lol:

Guess what, one day you will be...  :D

Only if you die before he does!   :P
Title: Snakebites
Post by: gatorbred on May 30, 2007, 12:47:53 PM
where I come from in the everglades, we generally had two snakes to be wary of ~ the pygmy rattler (small but poisonous) and the coral snake.  since I lived in the everglades, I carried a snake venom kit that was available as a doctors prescription.  there were three vials ~ for the rattler, the coral and a generic.  the shelf life was very good ~ 3-5 years, and cost about $200.00. good insurance when out on your own.  is that sort of kit available in the big bend area?
Title: Never Heard...
Post by: SHANEA on May 30, 2007, 08:50:59 PM
Quote from: "gatorbred"
is that sort of kit available in the big bend area?


Never heard of anything like that.  Our Dr. on call - AKA MountainDocDanny can offer insight.   In talking with BIBEARCH, he got nipped by a rattler, it took many vials of antivenin to do the trick at a whopping monetary cost.
Title: Snakebites
Post by: gatorbred on May 31, 2007, 05:55:46 AM
the kits that were available in florida, were only a stopgap measure, meant to keep you alive 'til you quickly found a doctor.
Title: Snakebites
Post by: mountaindocdanny on May 31, 2007, 12:20:17 PM
The most commonly used antivenom in the US is CroFab, which consists of antibodies from sheep who have been exposed to venom from the eastern and western Diamondback, the Mojave rattlesnake and the cottonmouth. Generally, it is only used if there are signs of extreme local symptoms (bad swelling that may threaten circulation) or lab tests indicating problems with the body's ability to form clots, kidney problems, large amounts of muscle breakdown or neurologic problems. Generally you give 4-6 vials of CroFab (about $1200-1500 per vial) and look at possible repeat doses later depending on response. There is also a separate antivenin for coral snakes that uses horse antibodies, but as coral snake bites are exceptionally rare (unless handling the snake) this is no often used.

I'm not familiar with the kits referred to by gatorbred, but that may just be my own ignorance.
Title: So MountainDocDanny...
Post by: SHANEA on May 31, 2007, 12:43:33 PM
Quote from: "mountaindocdanny"

I'm not familiar with the kits referred to by gatorbred,


You may have covered this before MountainDocDanny or you may not even want to weigh in on it, but, supposing I'm up on the South rim and get bit.  Since I don't generally hike alone, there is someone with me.  What would you suggest for a course of action.  Key word is "suggest", that way you can probably skirt any liability or malpractice issues.  
 :shock:
Title: Re: So MountainDocDanny...
Post by: chisos_muse on May 31, 2007, 08:12:14 PM
Quote from: "SHANEA"
Quote from: "mountaindocdanny"

I'm not familiar with the kits referred to by gatorbred,


You may have covered this before MountainDocDanny or you may not even want to weigh in on it, but, supposing I'm up on the South rim and get bit.  Since I don't generally hike alone, there is someone with me.  What would you suggest for a course of action.  Key word is "suggest", that way you can probably skirt any liability or malpractice issues.  
 :shock:


I'm no doctor, but my answer is get the hell off the rim as quickly as you can. Pinnacles is pretty well traveled and someone will find you.
It's all perspective. You can get hurt badly anywhere in the park.
Slipping and falling, whatever......if it's your time, go happy. :wink:
Keep in mind that most of the fatalities and injuries in the park are auto related.
Title: Re: Backcountry First Aid
Post by: Hayduke on January 21, 2008, 02:55:00 PM
What I've consistently been taught in Wilderness FA and Wilderness First Responder classes over the years is that the only snake bite kits worth having is a mechanical suction one such as the Sawyer Extractor. These work by creating a suction around the bite with the idea of removing venom and may be useful if applied in the first few minutes after a bite. But no cut-and-suck like you might see in the movies. And no cutting at all, for that matter.
Title: Re: Backcountry First Aid
Post by: RichardM on January 21, 2008, 03:07:53 PM
What I've consistently been taught in Wilderness FA and Wilderness First Responder classes over the years is that the only snake bite kits worth having is a mechanical suction one such as the Sawyer Extractor. These work by creating a suction around the bite with the idea of removing venom and may be useful if applied in the first few minutes after a bite. But no cut-and-suck like you might see in the movies. And no cutting at all, for that matter.

Check out this article on the Sawyer Extractor from the Rattle Snakes (http://www.bigbendchat.com/portal/forum/general-questions-and-answers/rattle-snakes-t2805.0.html) topic and you'll probably change your mind:
NOLS update on Sawyer Extractor (http://www.nols.edu/wmi/curriculum_updates/archive/041105_sawyer.shtml)

The above article has since gone missing. Here is a copy, courtesy of the Wayback Machine (http://www.nols.edu/wmi/curriculum_updates/archive/041105_sawyer.shtml)
Quote from: NOLS.edu
The Sawyer Extractor for Snakebite
By Tod Schimelpfenig
Curriculum Director Ė WMI of NOLS

We've taught that if promptly applied the Sawyer Extractor may be helpful for pit viper bites, albeit with caveats that there is limited evidence it helps, and some evidence that concentrating venom locally may be harmful.

We've changed our curriculum on the Extractor, based on the opinions of experts and research that indicates the Extractor has not lived up to it's original promise.  A study published in the February 2004 Annals of Emergency Medicine created a human model for "mock venom" extraction and found little to no venom (2% actually) was extracted by the extractor.  A second commentary article reviewed past studies of the extractor and weighed pros/cons.  The authors overall recommendation was "This study should change our practice.  We should stop recommending Extractors for pit viper bites, and the manufacturer should certainly stop advertising that they are recommended medically as the only acceptable first aid device for snakebites."

The fundamentals of rattlesnake treatment remain scene safety; remaining calm (both you and the patient); removing constricting clothing and jewelry; keeping  the patient resting with the bite site immobilized and at approximately the same level as the heart; monitoring swelling and evacuating the patient by carrying, walking only if it's necessary.
Title: Re: Backcountry First Aid
Post by: Hayduke on January 21, 2008, 03:14:07 PM
Check out this article on the Sawyer Extractor from the Rattle Snakes (http://www.bigbendchat.com/portal/forum/general-questions-and-answers/rattle-snakes-t2805.0.html) topic and you'll probably change your mind:
NOLS update on Sawyer Extractor (http://www.nols.edu/wmi/curriculum_updates/archive/041105_sawyer.shtml)

Thanks for pointing that out - you just made more room in my pack! :icon_smile:
Title: Re: Snakebites
Post by: trtlrock on January 21, 2008, 03:36:16 PM
maybe the new owner in Lajitas can stock anti-venom in the building marked "Infirmary", which appears to be closed 24/7.  Actually, I think it just leads to an employee-only portion of the restaurant...where they do have refridgerators!
Title: Re: Snakebites
Post by: BIBEARCH on March 03, 2008, 11:42:28 AM
Quote from: JeffB
Great information from BIBEARCH.  I'm glad to hear y'all had good treatment and recoveries.  I didn't know the park had an ambulance service.  That brings up a good question:

If one of us is bitten at the park, what is the emergency number to call?  And where is the nearest hospital that has antivenom? This would be great information to carry with me on the next trip.

The main park phone number goes to an automated answering machine with the first option "..if this is an emergency, dial 9 now.."

During normal daytime hours, 8-5, the call will be directed to park dispatch. After hours, the call is directed to 911 in Alpine, who will in turn contact  someone either in the park or at Terlingua Medics.
The main park number now has a different recording that directs you to dial "4" for emergencies.
Title: Re: Snakebites
Post by: madplanter on May 16, 2008, 07:55:46 PM
.


here is an account of a bite from a
mottled rock rattlesnake that happened
to long time reptile collector John Hollister:

http://www.trans-pecos.us/snakes/bite.html


mp
Title: Re: Snakebites
Post by: Peach on May 17, 2008, 12:52:03 AM
Last trip to the park we went to one of the Rangers talks on snakes in the park.  It was great for my little girl to go.  They explained about the different snakes, poisonous and nonpoisonous.  Now of course she wants a snake as a pet....

I had my first encounter with a baby copperhead yesterday....decide d I'd get a spade out and chop it's head off. :icon_eek:
Title: Re: Snakebites
Post by: madplanter on May 17, 2008, 04:54:15 AM
.


aw man,   poor baby viper.

 :icon_cry:
Title: Re: Snakebites
Post by: txhiker on September 25, 2009, 08:27:18 PM
I saw a Western Diamondback Rattler just this weekend in Georgetown. We left it alone, it left us alone.
(http://inlinethumb39.webshots.com/44774/2020920480105421541S600x600Q85.jpg) (http://outdoors.webshots.com/photo/2020920480105421541yPMflt)
Title: Re: Snakebites
Post by: BIBEARCH on September 26, 2009, 11:36:14 AM
Quote from: JeffB
Great information from BIBEARCH.  I'm glad to hear y'all had good treatment and recoveries.  I didn't know the park had an ambulance service.  That brings up a good question:

If one of us is bitten at the park, what is the emergency number to call?  And where is the nearest hospital that has antivenom? This would be great information to carry with me on the next trip.

The main park phone number goes to an automated answering machine with the first option "..if this is an emergency, dial 9 now.."

During normal daytime hours, 8-5, the call will be directed to park dispatch. After hours, the call is directed to 911 in Alpine, who will in turn contact  someone either in the park or at Terlingua Medics.
The main park number now has a different recording that directs you to dial "4" for emergencies.

The recommendation now is to call 911 because the Brewster County Emergency Services as a whole goes on alert. Their dispatcher has a list of phone numbers to run down for park EMS. The next would be Terlingua Fire and EMS, then Alpine.

1.  Always know where you are so you can relate that to the EMS
2.  Keep your eyes open and be mindful of what you are doing
3.  Breathe long, slow, relaxed breaths
4.  Slowly make your way out of the backcountry and make sure you let EMS know which route you will be taking.
5.  After the first hour or so -- if you got an envenomation -- it's going to start hurting like hell and it'll be hard to keep your calm, but calmness will be the salvation of life and limb. Concentrate on your breathing and maintain mindfullness.
6.  Have insurance. My hospital stay cost $45,000.
Title: Re: Snakebites
Post by: Voni on September 27, 2009, 09:14:03 AM
AND, when you call 911 be sure to tell them you are in SOUTH Brewster County.  That's a whole other system.

Voni
  sMiling
Title: Re: Snakebites
Post by: RichardM on May 03, 2019, 09:57:02 AM
https://wsed.org/snakebite-management-pre-hospital/
Title: Re: Snakebites
Post by: dprather on May 03, 2019, 03:15:24 PM
https://wsed.org/snakebite-management-pre-hospital/

Good resource - but if a snake bites me, I will kill it.
Title: Re: Snakebites
Post by: Jalco on May 03, 2019, 05:16:30 PM
https://wsed.org/snakebite-management-pre-hospital/

Good resource - but if a snake bites me, I will kill it.

I think you will have earned that right  :icon_biggrin:
Title: Re: Snakebites
Post by: Flash on May 03, 2019, 05:35:52 PM
https://wsed.org/snakebite-management-pre-hospital/
Therefore in responding to the article, what we folks that frequent BBNP and BBRSP might need is info on where best to go:
1) Does either park or Terlingua EMS keep any anti-venom about (probably not since the stuff expires, cost, etc.)?
2) Is Alpine Regional the best place to go for help?
If I am 2-hrs out via trail should I just walk on out? Frankly, other than advice about elevating (or not elevating) the bite site and the laundry list of what not to do, it looks like you've just got to go to the hospital. I'm interested in how to take care of myself or another during that period that may be hours long before I reach medical care.
- Flash
Title: Re: Snakebites
Post by: Txlj on May 03, 2019, 09:52:35 PM
A couple of years ago a friend was bitten in Fort Davis by a rattler. He was flown out of Alpine to Midland. The anti venom was flown in from El Paso.

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Title: Re: Snakebites
Post by: House Made of Dawn on May 03, 2019, 10:53:16 PM
A couple of years ago a friend was bitten in Fort Davis by a rattler. He was flown out of Alpine to Midland. The anti venom was flown in from El Paso.

That's good (or bad?) to know.

Every time someone mentions snakebite in Big Bend, I think of this old post from a decade or so ago: 

Quote from: Windchime
When Tom was bitten by a rattler a couple of years ago...the jury is out as to whether it was a Mexican Blacktail or a Diamondback...they gave him synthetic anti-venom which is good for Eastern Diamondback, Western Diamondback and, if my memory is correct, Mojave. Tom might want to refresh my memory here and add any recollection of anyone being bit up in the mountains...he has been in the pack 20 years or more. Not giving away his age...he must have been 15 years old when he got a job with the park :)

Haven't checked the chat page for awhile...

Thanks for not giving away my age -- I've been working in the park for the past 24 years and been in the park including the past 24 for a total of about 35 years of hiking in the Bend. Seen lots of snakes, jumped over a couple when I was going too fast to see them soon enough. Learned to slow down...and look. Even then, I still got bitten.

There's lots of good info on this thread that brings us to the conclusion that all those old field methods are out the window. When I was bitten, I was fortunately on the side of the road about 4 miles from headquarters.

Briefly stated, I was in the park ambulance within 20 minutes of being bitten, headed for Alpine. The park EMT called ahead to confirm that Alpine had antivenin on hand, otherwise it would have been Fort Stockton or Midland/Odessa. Bitten around 3:30 pm, laid in the emergency room in Alpine and didn't get the first antivenin until around 11 pm. CroFab was administered from Friday afternoon until the following Monday - total of 8 vials at about $3500 per vial. The main consideration if you are bitten -- have good insurance coverage! CroFab is made from the venom of five species of rattlesnake, including the Mojave, so it contains properties to neutralize hemotoxin as well as neurotoxin. My main problem came from the steroid injections they gave during the first five days in the hospital. I didn't know that steroids make some people retain fluid. Tuesday night, I didn't have abdominal capacity to hold the excellent meal my wife fixed, couldn't sleep because I couldn't get a deep breath, got up Wednesday morning and wife loaded me in the back of our truck and -- back to the emergency room. I had 30 extra pounds of fluid in my body, which had settled in my lungs which gave me pneumonia. From Wednesday til the following Saturday, I got respiratory treatments for the pneumonia and drank several gallons of cranberry juice as a diuretic to dump the fluid. By Saturday, I was 25 pounds lighter with a very clear urinary tract! They wanted to shoot me up with Lasix to get rid of the fluid and I opted to go the more natural cranberry juice route, which I know from experience to be an excellent diuretic.

CroFab is the current treatment of choice. If bitten in the wilderness, bend over, kiss your sweet a.........No, the main thing is to remain calm - not something most people could do because after about the first 30 minutes, the venom begins digesting your tissue and the pain is difficult to describe at best. "Excruciating" doesn't do it justice. Slowly getting out to transportation, trying to immobilize the affected limb - people ususally get bitten on the extremities - and getting to a hospital as soon as possible is the currently recommended method. Few people actually die from snakebite in this country - thank goodness we don't have fer-de-lance, at least in Texas. Venom is a potent digestive juice and basically begins dissolving muscle tissue. Tissue loss is relatively common around the site of the bite and toward the heart. Your body will eventually replace some of the muscle and you can exercise to rebuild your functionality. There is usually a lot of general damage to the cell structure and the flabby cells will retain fluid for weeks to months after the bite. Your body will attempt to replace the damaged tissue to some degree. Staying active, getting fresh air and excercise, and drink plenty of water to keep your tissues hydrated will facilitate recovery.

When our teenage son was volunteering for the trail crew, they were staying in Boot Cabin. He and a few others were outside playing darts when one of his darts fell next to the cabin foundation. He reached for the dart and felt a stinging pain and thought it was a scorpion. He noticed there were two puncture marks on his finger, looked into the crack to see what bit him, and saw a blacktail. He actually was able to keep his head and they were able to get him down from the Boot in about five hours. By 1 am, he was in the emergency room at Alpine. The best way to describe the apperance of his arm by that time was - take a look at Popeye. Fat hand, fat forearm, and a protruding elbow. Within a week, he was back at work and suffered no tissue loss. His was a mild envenomation by a small snake. Mine was a moderate to major envnomation by a snake that was at least three feet long that bit me on the inside of my right foot. My swelling reached past my groin. Neither of us had the tissue loss that you usually hear about. After about a year, my swelling was essentially gone and only occasionally do I have a wierd twinge at the site of the bite.

The best advice, slow down and enjoy the natural beauty of the place. Watch where you step and where you place your hands and feet (and your posterior - cactus sneak up on you from behind). Simply paying attention and thinking about what you are doing is the best way to avoid any kind of injury - not to mention enabling you to enjoy your hiking experience.

Tom Alex
Big Bend National Park Archeologist
Title: Re: Snakebites
Post by: fartymarty on May 05, 2019, 11:47:59 AM
Seems like so many are saying that an apple is not an orange, and then folks are concluding that an apple is not a fruit.

Case in point, a year or so ago a study said that organic food is no more nutritious than non-organic food. So some quit buying it because of that study. However, I think proponents of organic food were always saying that organic food was better for you not because of it's nutritional value, but rather it was less harmful to you because it didn't have pesticides in it or on it. I don't recall anyone saying it was more nutritious. So why study that?

Sorta the same thing with suction on a bite. All the research seems to be about whether any venom is removed by suction, and since none/insignificant amount is, they conclude that it's a worthless treatment. I never thought that suction would remove much if any venom. I did hope it would slow down the spread of venom. Similar to the rubber band helping to hinder the forward spread of venom by partially blocking the pathway ahead, the suction might be somewhat helpful in slowing it down from the rear. I've seen no studies with conclusions on the latter.
If someone has please post a link.

Regardless, being bit by a snake in a wilderness setting can be an upsetting experience and once the victim's thought process gets going on potential outcomes it could have a detrimental effect on heart rate and logical thinking.   I think the psychological effect of doing something that seems to give the victim some hope /control of the situation will be beneficial in slowing down the heart rate,  and thus a good thing that will outweigh any negative effects that a rubber band and a small suction cup can induce, at least until the victim is in the ambulance. Perhaps those that have been actually bitten can tell us what their mental response was at the time shortly after the bite, and whether they think I'm full of ...
...let's go with hot air and worthless non fact based opinion.
Title: Re: Snakebites
Post by: dprather on May 05, 2019, 12:08:38 PM
This thread is an example of the good done by BBC. 

This thread reminds me that venomous snake bites are one of the risk variables that must be managed while backpacking the Bend.
Title: Re: Snakebites
Post by: House Made of Dawn on May 05, 2019, 12:30:34 PM
This thread is an example of the good done by BBC. 

This thread reminds me that venomous snake bites are one of the risk variables that must be managed while backpacking the Bend.

Itís the ONLY one that scares me. I hope I never have to deal with it.


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Title: Re: Snakebites
Post by: House Made of Dawn on May 05, 2019, 12:34:59 PM
This thread is an example of the good done by BBC. 

This thread reminds me that venomous snake bites are one of the risk variables that must be managed while backpacking the Bend.

Itís the ONLY one that scares me. I hope I never have to deal with it.


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Well, that and anaphylaxis from insect stings. I used to have a fatal allergy, nearly died in my twenties, but an experimental treatment back then supposedly cured me. Iíve been stung a handful of times since, with nothing more than normal responses, so hopefully Iím good. But, you know, thereís always that lingering doubt in the back of my mind that the next one.....



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