April 6, 2018

Snake bite season begins

NTC Safety Office
Photo by Tom Benson, Flickr Creative Commons
As the weather warms up this spring, rattlesnakes become more active in the desert and there is a higher risk of snake bites.

March is the beginning of snake bite season in Southern California.  Rattlesnakes are typically active from April until September.  About 221 snake bites are reported in the state annually, however the fatality rate for snake bites is less than one-half of one percent.   

There are seven different species of rattlesnakes found in Southern California, including the western diamondback, sidewinder, speckled rattlesnake, red diamond rattlesnake, southern Pacific rattlesnake, Great Basin rattlesnake and the Mojave rattlesnake. The most venomous is the Mojave rattlesnake.  As the name implies, the Mojave rattlesnake originates from the Mojave Desert but is also found in Arizona, Utah, Southern Nevada, Western Texas, New Mexico and Southern Mexico.

Some Mojave rattlesnakes are greenish, but may have a similar color to western diamondbacks.  The venom is a neurotoxin, which destroys nerves and nerve tissue.  The toxin is considered to be more than 30 times more toxic than that of the western diamondback.  The venom paralyzes the snake’s prey and prevents its escape.  In a high dose, the neurotoxin can stop the breathing process.

When hiking, use a walking stick or other device to rustle the shrubs along the side of your route to alert snakes of your presence.  Wear high boots, long pants and gloves when moving rocks or brush.

Responding quickly to a snake bite emergency is crucial.  While waiting for emergency assistance, allow the bite to bleed freely for 30 seconds.  Clean the area with soap and water and/or disinfectant. Immobilize the bitten extremity and keep below heart level.

All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


Army photograph by Cpl. Gabrielle Weaver

Army’s Soldier and Squad Performance Research Institute will increase lethality, resilience

Army photograph by Cpl. Gabrielle Weaver U.S. Soldiers with the 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne) engage opposing forces in a simulated exercise during Saber Junction 18 at Ho...

High Desert Warrior Digital Edition – November 2, 2018

Ft. Irwin High Desert Warrior – Digital Publication serving the National Training Center and Ft. Irwin, CA – Digital Edition November 2, 2018 Welcome to the High Desert Warrior Digital Edition! This month’s digital ed...

Fort Irwin’s Joint Color Guard at World Series

Fort Irwin’s Joint Color Guard helped fans kick off their World Series experience in Los Angeles. Game No. 3 was the longest game in World Series (and post-season) history, with 18 innings over seven hours. Nine members of th...