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How to respond to snakes as warmer weather draws them out

Perry Smith (WGXA)

MACON, Ga. -- Warmer weather in the midstate means that snakes are leaving hibernation and are becoming more visible.

More than 46 species of snakes can be found in Georgia, but John Jensen with the Department of Natural Resources said that only six of those are venomous.

"Certainly venous snakes are capable of causing a very painful bite. Some of the species like the rattlesnakes can cause a fatal bite, so you definitely need to be aware of them but you don't need to be totally fearful," Jensen said.

He said that on average about five people in the US die from snake bites annually, but people should still be cautious if they see one.

Jensen said that the best thing anyone can do after seeing a snake is to stay calm and slowly walk away. This way, the snake won't see the person as a threat and most likely not attack.

"Most people that get bit by a venous snake see the snake first and take an action that puts them in greater danger like they try to kill it or try to move it and that's when they get bit," said Jensen.

Elisha Pulaxico works in the emergency room at Coliseum Northside Hospital in Macon, and advised that anyone who gets bitten by a snake should get to an emergency room immediately.

" We'll see you, we'll draw blood work, we'll try to figure out what snake it was that bit you so you know if you are bit by a snake try to get a good look at it, find a distinctive pattern or marking," she said.

With that information, first responders can determine if the person bit will need antivenom.

Snake bites can cause physical reactions such as swelling, headaches, vomiting and nausea.


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