Rattlesnakes: Vicious Or Misunderstood?

Aug 14, 2017

Credit poplinre / Flickr Creative Commons

As the dog days of summer continue, the chances of encountering a rattlesnake on the High Plains remain elevated.

But, as The Sacramento Bee explains, rattlesnakes aren’t as dangerous as you may think. Attacks aren’t as common as some may believe, because rattlers aren’t aggressive. They generally only bite when they feel threatened.

However, humans sometimes mistakenly think a snake is being aggressive when it’s simply trying to find a cooler place to lie.

“It’s not like they’re attacking people,” explained rattlesnake expert Mike Cardwell. “They’re getting out of the sun.”

Every year, there are approximately 8,000 doctor and hospital visits for rattlesnake bites. But the vast majority of those attacks occur because the bite victim initiated the encounter by moving toward the snake.

Also, deaths cause by rattler bites are rare. Of those 8,000 yearly bites, only a handful prove fatal.

So, if you’re bitten don’t panic. Simply get to the doctor as calmly and quickly as you can.