Thursday, May 7, 2009

Another Desert Menace

by Pa Rock
Macho Muchacho

The local news media reported that four people in the Phoenix area were bitten by rattlesnakes last weekend. One was a child who didn't know enough to back away. Another was a fellow who stepped off of his porch and was bitten on the heel by a rattler who was snoozing in the shade and awoke just as he was about to be stepped on. A local hospital reported that one man was bitten on the hand after he tried to pet a rattlesnake. It was discovered, to the surprise of no one, that he had been drinking prior to the incident. (Doctors at that same hospital stated that they had previously encountered people who were bitten as they had tried to kiss a rattlesnake. I wonder what drugs they were taking?)

Local doctors gave the press some pointers about snake bites to share with the public. They said not to use a tourniquet to impede the blood flow, not to cut into the bite and try to suction out the poison, and definitely not to catch the snake and bring it to the hospital. Treating the snake bite does not require the presence of the snake.

Some of my co-workers feel that snakes pose no serious threat to those of us residing within the city limits, but I know better. It's all desert. It's their home, and we are the intruders. This week I saw a roadrunner speed across the intersection of Litchfield and McDowell - a very busy place. (The roadrunner made it safely across the intersection, but the coyote who was chasing him was hit by five cars, a fat kid on a skateboard, and an anvil falling from the sky!) I know for certain that the scorpions don't turn around at the city limits sign, and I'm doubtful that the rattlers do either.

I think that being stung by a scorpion (3 times!) has hardened me as a desert dweller. That hurt more than anything I have ever encountered in life - and I lived to tell the tale. The guy who survives a scorpion probably has little to fear from a rattler. If some of those bad boys slither over my way, I may just wind up with a new pair of boots!


xobekim said...

If you have crickets then you will also scorpions. Crickets are delicacy to the scorpion palate.

About twenty-five years ago I read in a medical journal, either JAMA or AMA, that shooting the snake bite site with a stun gun was an effective way to keep the rattler's venom out of the blood stream.

That remedy never got much public traction. Apparently there is some public policy concern about arming the general populace with stun guns. I wonder if a taser would work?

Pa Rock's Ramble said...

Thanks for all of the useful information. I may have to put out cricket traps!

Tasers are manufactured in the Valley of Hell, and I'm certain that if they could be used to combat rattler poisoning the locals would be touting that fact. That might be a case where the cure is more dangerous than the ailment!