27/02/2024

Don’t pick up the head of a ᴅᴇᴄᴀᴘɪᴛᴀᴛᴇᴅ rattlesnake

Don’t pick up the head of a ᴅᴇᴄᴀᴘɪᴛᴀᴛᴇᴅ rattlesnake

I’d like to preface this article by admitting it seems unbelievable, but I assure you, every word of it is true. Although this is one of my favorite ʜᴜɴᴛɪɴɢ stories to tell, it was a ᴛᴇʀʀɪꜰʏɪɴɢ experience in person.

What should you do if you encounter a rattlesnake in your backyard? Well, you can keep your distance and hope it goes on to live a life of peace and harmony and it never ʙɪᴛᴇs your children. Or, you can ᴅᴇᴄᴀᴘɪᴛᴀᴛᴇ it with a shovel. A man was doing yard work when he spotted a four-foot rattlesnake. He ʙᴇʜᴇᴀᴅᴇᴅ the snake with a shovel—but when he went to dispose of it, the sᴇᴠᴇʀᴇᴅ head ʙɪᴛ him. The man received a massive dose of the snake’s ᴠᴇɴᴏᴍ. He became sᴇʀɪᴏᴜsʟʏ ɪʟʟ and had to be air-lifted to a hospital, where he required a large number of doses of anti – ᴠᴇɴᴏᴍ. A week later he remains in stable condition. The snake was reported to be a Western diamondback rattlesnake. This story is perhaps not as uncommon as it may seem, because snakes—like many other reptiles—retain their reflexes even hours after ᴅᴇᴀᴛʜ. The ʙɪᴛᴇ reflex is extremely strong in ᴠᴇɴᴏᴍous snakes, because their instinct is to deliver one extremely quick ʙɪᴛᴇ, move away, and wait for their ᴠᴇɴᴏᴍ to work. This ʙɪᴛᴇ reflex can be triggered hours after the snake ᴅɪᴇs. Now, getting ʙɪᴛ by a headless snake is not the same as getting ʙɪᴛ by a whole snake. A headless snake doesn’t have all its faculties intact. So while a head that’s still attached to its body may be able to regulate its ᴠᴇɴᴏᴍ delivery, a headless snake just lets loose with whatever it has because hey, why not. It’s not like it’s ever going to have another chance.  Just to put that into perspective, a more typical number of rattlesnake anti-ᴠᴇɴᴏᴍ doses is two to nine. So the lesson here is not, “Don’t ᴅᴇᴄᴀᴘɪᴛᴀᴛᴇ rattlesnakes” (though many people will tell you to just leave them alone). The lesson is “Don’t pick up the head of a ᴅᴇᴄᴀᴘɪᴛᴀᴛᴇᴅ rattlesnake” because it is still capable of ʙɪᴛɪɴɢ for literally hours after it’s been separated from its body.

So when I read this story, I was having a massive ᴘᴀɴɪᴄ ᴀᴛᴛᴀᴄᴋ to say the very least. How does this happen? Please be careful with what you see, especially ᴠᴇɴᴏᴍous snakes. Share these interesting and interesting things with your loved ones

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