While rarely fatal, rattlesnake bites are extremely painful and destructive.
What to Know
- Thirteen species of rattlesnakes have been identified in Arizona and extra caution should be taken when being outdoors when the daytime temperature stays above 82 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Rattlesnakes can be encountered at anytime during the year but in March and April, rattlesnakes become more active and move to areas where they can soak up the sun.
- During hot summer months, they are more active at night. After the start of the August monsoons, they become the most active of the year.
- The shaking of the rattle can serve as a warning but not always – rattlesnakes can strike without warning or making a sound.
- They can strike 1/4 to 1/2 of their body length – rattlesnakes in Arizona can be of different lengths.
- Babies are typically born at the end of July and are capable of biting from birth.
- Immediate pain or burning at the site; fang marks usually visible
- A metallic or rubbery taste in your mouth
- Significant swelling with symptoms progressing to weakness, sweating, chills, nausea and vomiting
Treating a Bite
- Seek emergency medical attention immediately and stay calm – you have time to reach medical care
- Use your cell phone to call for help if you have service
- If bitten on the hand, remove all jewelry before swelling begins
What Not to Do if Bit
- Do not apply ice to the bite site or immerse the bite in ice
- Do not restrict blood flow in any manner
- Do not cut the bite site or try to suck out the venom; leave the bite site alone
- Do not try to capture the snake to bring to the hospital, treatment is not snake specific
If you have questions, please call us directly at (602) 253-3334 or call (800) 222-1222 for your local poison center.