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Rattlesnake bites are on the rise, expert explains what to do if you get bit

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TUCSON - Reported snake bites are up all across the country so if you're planning on going out on the trail to get some exercise after quarantine we've got some tips for you.

Steve Dudley is the Director of the Arizona Poison and Drug Information Center. Dudley told us "Never stick your hands or feet to anywhere that your eyes can't see so if you're going to pick up something grab a stick first make sure nothing's there."

Steve Dudley also said there is a wide variety of species of rattlesnake in Southern Arizona and some are more deadly than others.

"We have an Arizona 15 species of rattlesnake and two subspecies so there is a ton out there and they all have their own unique venom. Some might cause swelling while others could cause severe bleeding"

Marc Hammond is the co-owner of Arizona Animal Experts in Tucson. Part of his job is removing rattlesnakes from private property and he says that they are not considered an aggressive snake. 

Hammond said, "As far as hiking goes stay on the trails if you're on the trails the snake may be just two feet off the trails they may never even rattle they know that you're following it at that trail is when you go off the trail that's when it could be a problem."

"They're very defensive. They're not going to come after you, that's the reason why they rattle. That rattling sound is telling you right there hello I'm here I don't want to bite you"

Hammond was bitten by a rattlesnake last Friday after a routine pick up.

Hammond said, "The rattlesnake got caught up in a bunch of netting. So what we do is try to hold him back and cut around the netting with the scissors but the closer you get to the scales that's when it can get dangerous"

We made sure to ask Hammond what it felt like, "It's like the worst burn that you've ever had it's almost like putting your hand on a hot plate and keeping it there getting a third degree burn and then pull your hand off and then slam it in a car door."

This is Marc's third time being bitten, but remember he is getting much closer to these animals than most of us ever will. 

If you are ever in a situation where you have been bit, the first thing you need to do is get away from the snake then get medical attention as soon as possible. Many hospitals in the area have anti-venom for rattlesnakes.

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Daniel McFarland

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