Hainds: Rattlesnake bites becoming more common

Published 12:04 am Friday, June 8, 2012

Wednesday’s snakebite in Florala marks the second of its kind in a little more than a week.

A 4-year-old Opp girl was bitten last Monday while playing outside with her brother.

Mark Hainds, a research coordinator with the Longleaf Alliance, said snakebite instances are becoming more and more common. Fifteen years ago, he was bitten by a timber rattlesnake that he’d mistakenly identified as a rat snake.

“That’s a perfect example of how most bites happen, and the majority of those are on the hand and wrists of those who shouldn’t have been messing with a snake to begin with,” Hainds said. He said three of the six fulltime employees at the Solon Dixon Forestry Center have been bitten by venomous snakes – his bite by a rattlesnake and two others from copperhead moccasins.

“(Copperheads) are the most common snake bite – one because of their numbers and two, because they have the worst attitude,” he said.

“The best advice that we can give is be careful where you put your hands,” he said. “Especially when putting them underneath things like logs, debris and tin. But getting bit walking across the yard, or playing – I hate to hear that. I’d say it’s uncommon, but it seems to happen a lot here.”

Hainds said those outside should be vigilant.

“Keep your eyes open,” he said. “Snakes are definitely moving. They are very active this time of year. Snake surveys show we have more snakes in the woods than ever. People should be careful.”