Every year, rattlesnakes bite about 8,000 humans and cause anywhere between 10 to 15 casualties. Although they tend to not be very aggressive, they will attack if provoked or caught off guard. Their attacks, if not properly treated, can be lethal.
Typically, a strong rattlesnake can jump about one-half of its length. Other rattlesnakes, however, can only jump about a third of their body. This means that a six-foot-long rattlesnake can jump and strike anywhere between three and four feet.
Your average rattlesnake can grow anywhere between three feet and six feet. A rare few rattlesnakes can reach up to eight feet long, which means that they can launch themselves anywhere between four and five and a half feet.
How Far Can Your Average Rattlesnake Jump
How far a rattlesnake can jump is contingent on the length of its body. Your average rattlesnake can jump anywhere between a third and a half of its body length.
If you are within proximity of a rattlesnake it is important to determine its average length and stay at least half of that distance or more away from them. This will prevent you from provoking them and being bitten.
Are Rattlesnakes Aggressive?
It is relatively rare that a rattlesnake will jump at a person unless they are provoked. Rattlesnakes tend not to be aggressive. If a rattlesnake is hurt or threatened there is a chance that it will jump at a person. They tend to shake their rattle to warn a predator or threatening person before launching, so watch out for this clear sign.
Rattlesnakes, fortunately, tend to retreat instead of attacking. They are relatively mellow, contrary to popular belief, and would prefer to run away from a confrontational situation.
Of course, rattlesnakes can get quite aggressive if they are provoked. This is not an unusual characteristic for snakes or any animal for that matter. If you see a rattlesnake in the wild it is best to leave it alone.
What Will Agitate a Rattlesnake
As previously mentioned, rattlesnakes generally tend not to be aggressive. However, there are a few things that can provoke them and times of the year when they are more likely to bite.
Most rattlesnake bites occur during the Spring. This is because the weather is starting to get warming, so rattlesnakes are coming out of their hole to hunt for food. Summer is too warm for them, and Autumn and Winter are both too cold.
Spring is also when rattlesnakes scout for their mates. When looking for mates they can even venture into areas that are more populated by humans, like hiking trails or even backyards. If you see a rattlesnake in the wild, do not provoke them. Retreat calmly and give them their space. This will minimize the risk of being attacked by a rattlesnake.
What Happens If You Are Bitten By a Rattlesnake
There are both short-term and long-term symptoms associated with being bitten by a rattlesnake. Rattlesnake venom is composed mostly of hemotoxic elements, which means that it is toxic to the blood and can cause blood poisoning. Primarily, the venom from rattlesnakes will cause tissue damage, destroy skin tissues and blood cells, and negatively affect your circulatory system. This will cause you to hemorrhage internally.
If you’re bitten by a rattlesnake you will have either one or two puncture marks from the fangs of the snake. The site will experience a burning or tingling sensation, and can even be painful. There is also likely to be some bruising, swelling, and discoloration.
There are also other symptoms that are commonly associated with rattlesnake bites. A person may have difficulty breathing or blurred vision. They also may start salivating and vomiting. It is likely that they will experience heavy sweating and nausea or lightheadedness. Other symptoms include numbness and weakness in the face and/or limbs.
What to Do If Attacked by a Rattlesnake
Rattlesnake bites are considered a medical emergency because rattlesnakes are venomous. Luckily, although they are dangerous, they are very rarely lethal. The most important and immediate thing that you can do is get away from the rattlesnake. If you don’t there is a chance that they will bite again if they continue to feel threatened. Take a mental note of the size and color of the snake so you can pass the information on to a medical professional.
You will want to procure medical assistance as quickly as possible. If you’re able to, call an ambulance. Rattlesnake venom can travel into your skin within seconds, so it is important to acquire medical help within thirty minutes of the bite taking place. If the bite is left untreated your bodily functions will start to break down.
The hospital will release you relatively quickly with pain medication. They will also recommend follow-up appointments with a healthcare provider to ensure that the wound is doing well. If your bite looks infected or symptoms persist be sure to contact a healthcare provider immediately.
What Not to Do if Bitten by a Rattlesnake
There are many misconceptions about what to do if bitten by a rattlesnake, and making a simple mistake can prove lethal. First off, it is important to not raise the locus of the bite above the heart because the blood containing the venom will reach the heart more quickly. It is also important not to tourniquet the wound and to instead let it bleed, as some of the venom will likely be released.
Don’t wash the wound: instead, let your medical team use some of the venom from the bite to identify what antivenin is necessary. Do not panic and try to remain as calm as possible.
Another common misconception is that one should cut the wound or suck the venom from the wound. Cutting the wound can cause a bad infection, and is important to avoid. Sucking venom from the wound will just introduce the venom to your mouth and likely cause you to ingest bacteria.