Monday, October 15, 2007

Rattlesnake attacks in Arizona surprise experts

Snakes are a routine part of the landscape in Arizona, so many folks think nothing of approaching one -- or even picking one up. As a result, severe bites from Mohave rattlesnakes (at left in a photo from the Arizona Fish and Game Department) in recent months have killed one woman and sent another man to intensive care for five days, reports The Daily Courier in Prescott.

Earlier this month, Jackie Ledwell, 63, died a day after a Mohave rattler bit her foot when she tried to stab it with a knife, writes Joanna Dodder. She died after being flown by helicopter to a hospital in Flagstaff. A few weeks before that, Dave Martin, 49, survived a bite on his hand even after suffering a stroke hours afterward.

Ledwell died from anaphylactic shock, a severe whole-body allergic reaction, that has become more common when it comes to rattlesnake attacks in Arizona, Dr. Michell Ruha, a toxicologist in Phoenix, told Dodder. It could be a trend, but neither Ruha nor local law enforcement officials are sure why. The article does some nice investigation into the possible trend, and it includes reporting of key facts when it comes Mohave rattlers and to snakebites in general. The answer to this trend is simple, Dodder explains, just don't mess with these snakes. (Read more)

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