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Rattlesnake alert in Ford County

Jennifer Stultz
jstultz@pratttribune.com

BUCKLIN–Ford County Sheriff Bill Carr would like to encourage all Ford County residents to take a few minutes to take note of the following information about rattlesnakes, and have a safe summer, after dealing with a snaky situation on June 22 in Bucklin.

Sheriff Carr responded to a call for assistance put out by a resident of the City of Bucklin who discovered a rattlesnake in her front yard. The rattlesnake, a 2-foot-7-inch, prairie rattler, with eight buttons, was quickly done away with by the quick action of the Sheriff, much to the resident’s appreciation.

“Please be mindful this summer when out and about, even in your yard. If in a wilderness area, use a walking stick and stay in the middle of well-used trails,” Carr said. “Avoid walking through tall grass or brush. Always keep your children near you and your dogs on a leash. Watch where you are walking and learn to recognize the sound of a rattlesnake.”

With warm temperatures and abundant recent rains, it is snake season in all parts of Kansas. Carr said it was important that people understand they should never disturb, handle or touch a rattlesnake.

“If you see a rattlesnake, do not attempt to move or kill it,” Carr said. “Rattlesnakes will generally leave an area if left alone.”

If an individual should find or stumble upon a rattlesnake is their backyard or home, stay away and call the local Department of Animal Services, Fire Department, or 9-1-1.

“Remember rattlesnakes do not always rattle before they strike,” Carr said. “Do not handle a freshly killed snake - it can still inject venom.”

Carr provided the following information in a Ford County Sheriff Facebook post.

Snakes are most active in the early mornings on spring and summer days when the sun is warming the earth. Snakes turn in for the evening, sleeping at night. Rattlesnakes can only bite from a coiled position. When someone gets bitten by a snake, immediately apply a tourniquet above the bite and ice it.

Generally, not aggressive, rattlesnakes strike when threatened or deliberately provoked, but given room they will retreat. Most snake bites occur when a rattlesnake is handled or accidentally touched by someone walking or climbing. The majority of snakebites occur on the hands, feet and ankles.

Rattlesnakes usually avoid humans, but about 8,000 people are bitten by venomous snakes in the United States each year, with 10 to 15 deaths, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Nationwide, venomous snakebite deaths are rare, but bites can be very painful and cause serious tissue damage. Always seek immediate medical attention if you think you have been bitten. Learn about our venomous snakes so you’ll know where they live and how to recognize them. A great resource is the online Kansas Herpetofaunal Atlas hosted by the Sternberg Museum of Natural History, Fort Hays State University: http://webapps.fhsu.edu/ksherp/default.aspx. There you’ll find color photos, descriptions, life history, range maps and a calendar of peak activity. You can reduce the risk of venomous snakebite by learning all you can about snakes and our wild areas, taking a few simple precautions, and being aware at all times.