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Big Bend Conservancy

Over-estimating your experience or under-estimating the terrain in a place like Big Bend can result in serious injury or death. Use the information and advice found here wisely. Climb/Hike/Camp/Drive at your own risk.

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Snakebites

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Offline Undertaker

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Re: Snake Bite / Tazer
« Reply #15 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
Visiting BB since 1966, nothing like being lost and finding heaven.

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SHANEA

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Re: Snake Bite / Tazer
« Reply #16 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:

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Offline Undertaker

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Re: Snake Bite / Tazer
« Reply #17 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
Visiting BB since 1966, nothing like being lost and finding heaven.

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Offline JeffB

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Re: Out of Curosity..
« Reply #18 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.
Jeff Bullard
Dallas, TX

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SHANEA

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Re: Out of Curosity..
« Reply #19 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)

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Offline JeffB

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Snakebites
« Reply #20 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.
Jeff Bullard
Dallas, TX

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SHANEA

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Depends...
« Reply #21 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.

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Offline Undertaker

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Re: Depends...
« Reply #22 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.
Visiting BB since 1966, nothing like being lost and finding heaven.

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Offline BIBEARCH

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Re: snakebites in the park
« Reply #23 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
The opinion expressed above is my own and not that of the National Park Service or the Federal government.

"Government of the people, by the people, for the people . . . people hey, that's us!"? - Swami Beyondananda

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SHANEA

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Re: snakebites in the park
« Reply #24 on: August 17, 2006, 12:14:50 PM »
Quote from: "BIBEARCH"
The best advice...


Don't get bit.

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Offline Bobcat

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Snakebites
« Reply #25 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:
Location Location Location

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SHANEA

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September 2006 Backpacker
« Reply #26 on: August 17, 2006, 10:10:56 PM »

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Offline presidio

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Re: Out of Curosity..
« Reply #27 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.
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Wendell (Garret Dillahunt): It's a mess, ain't it, sheriff?
Ed Tom Bell (Tommy Lee Jones): If it ain't, it'll do till the mess gets here.
--No Country for Old Men (2007)

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Offline JeffB

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Snakebites
« Reply #28 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.
Jeff Bullard
Dallas, TX

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chisos_muse

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Snakebites
« Reply #29 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! :?

 


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