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Snakebites Rarely Fatal

(Picture courtesy of Missouri Department of Conservation)
The Missouri Department of Conservation reports an average of 85 snake bites by venomous snakes each year, but the last fatal snake bite in the state of Missouri was in 1965.  That was a bite by a Copperhead.  So why aren’t more bites fatal?

The Missouri Department of Conservation says approximately one-quarter of all bites are “dry,” meaning the snake doesn’t inject any venom. This often is because the snake is trying to scare away an intruder, not kill you.  Second, medical treatment for snakebite is readily available in Missouri. Third, many venomous snakes simply don’t have enough venom to kill a person.
Dr. Maureen Frank, Assistant Professor and Extension Wildlife Specialist at Texas A and M University says if you are bitten, clean the area with soap and water.  But she says don’t try to treat yourself.

She says remove tight-fitting clothing because you could have swelling from the bite.  She also recommends getting to a health care provider.

If you will be in areas known to have venomous snakes, protect yourself.  Wear sturdy pants, boots that come over your ankles, and listen and look before grabbing or turning over rocks.

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