Missouri Department of Conservation explains how to deal with snake bites

Published: Jul. 31, 2021 at 9:50 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - As you venture outdoors throughout the summer, there’s a chance you may encounter snakes.

Francis Skalicky with the Missouri Department of Conservation said snake bites could happen, but they will only bite you out of self-defense.

“Why it bites is its self-defense mechanism. You have stepped too close to it, you have come too close to it, or you’ve done something that it feels threatened. Snakes don’t go on the offensive, they’re only on the defensive,” said Skalicky.

But, if you do get a snake bite, you need to get to a doctor immediately. Skalicky said there are many things not to do right after you get bit.

“Just wash it off. I mean, obviously, you can put a band-aid on or something like that,” said Skalicky. “Don’t do tourniquet. As I said, don’t try to suck the venom out. That only works in Hollywood, not in real life.”

When going on trails and hikes, it is important to know what types of snakes you may encounter just so you can prepare.

Skalicky also said to take pictures of the wound, if you get bitten.

“First thing you need to do is take a picture of it with your phone. That way, when you go to the doctor, you can show them this snake bit me, because maybe you’re unsure whether it’s a venomous snake or a non-venomous snake,” said Skalicky.

The most common venomous snake in Missouri is the Copperhead, and Skalicky said they will not intentionally attack you.

“Copperhead too, will not ambush you. It’s not waiting for the next human to come by so it can jump out and attack you,” said Skalicky. “But if it feels threatened, it can bite you.”

And knowledge is key in knowing what to do when seeing snakes.

“There’s not like anti-snake gear you can wear. It’s more just having the knowledge of that they could be out there. Be on the lookout for them. Don’t be afraid of them, be on the lookout for them. And that way you can enjoy your hike,” said Skalicky.

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