Ouch! Snake Bites on the Rise - NBC 7 San Diego

Ouch! Snake Bites on the Rise

Texas and California reports a large spike in snake bites



    Ouch! Snake Bites on the Rise
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    Watch where you step, there could be a snake in your backyard.

    More and more, snakes are taking a bite out of Texas and California residents.

    Waiting rooms in California hospitals have been full of people seeking waiting to be treated for venomous snake bites. Richard Clark, director of toxicology at UC-San Diego Medical Center, suspects the rise in snake bites has more to do with where residents call home.

    "We have seen more interactions between people and snakes because of the way we build. I mean, we build schools right on canyons inhabited by rattlesnakes," said Clark.

    While the American Association of Poison Control Centers receives roughly 2,000 reports of snake bites each year, sections in the warm weather states have seen a large uptick in snake bites this year, reports USA Today.

    The Central Texas Poison Center reported a 35% increase in the month of June compared to 2008. Overall, Texas saw a six percent increase. 

    Others believe it could be the dry heat prompting snakes to find cool, shady places, which often times, could be someones backyard. Lee Fitzgerald, a herpetologist at Texas A&M said the answer may not be so simple. 

    "Everything's  complicated in nature, there can be lots of reasons," Fitzgerald told USA Today.

    The increased severity in the snake bites is attributed by some experts to the development of the powerful neurotoxin hellerase, in their venom, although research, so far, remains inconclusive.

    "Turns out there's some neurotoxic components of snake venom we just weren't aware of," said Thomas Graham, a physician at UCLA Medical Center.