Two isolated rattlesnake bite cases have landed Yosemite hikers in the hospital in the past month, leading officials to warn park guests to take extreme caution while visiting.
According to SFGate, two seperate snakes recently bit hikers in two separate incidents. The first incident took place while one hiker was stopping for a fishing break. “A rattlesnake bit one man in his mid-30’s as he was fishing barefoot in the Tuolumne River on August 27,” park officials reported.
Thankfully, another hiker was nearby and was able to alert officials using a satellite messenger device. The first victim, unable to hike out, was found for rescue once his wife was able to share their location via her phone to officials. From there, a helicopter rescue went underway. From there, the victim was treated with two doses of antivenom. He required further care for dehydration, nausea and pain.
Second rattlesnake victim struck
The second rescue took place just days later when a separate rattlesnake bit a hiker. This individual was part of a group, and was struck while climbing a steep slope. Reportedly, his fellow hikers waited for the snake to leave his side, then began approaching him.
Clarifying the incident to officials, one of the victim’s hike-mates says the attack was “out of the blue”:
We were on the trail, hiking by ankle-high shrubs, when out of the blue—with no rattle, no hiss, no sound whatsoever—a snake struck.”SFGate
In turn, one of the other hikers still had cellphone service, and was able to call 911. A rescue helicopter was able to locate them, but only after a park ground team made its way to the group. Once there, they treated the victim as best they could.
Ultimately, the second victim’s bite was severe enough to require four doses of anti-venom. He was also treated for “dehydration, nausea, and pain, with swelling in his leg and limited range of motion” while at a hospital in Modesto.
If the report of back-to-back bites seems unusual, that’s because it is. The rapid spread of wildfires has wildlife on edge, and many are lashing out at human ‘intruders’ in extreme fashion. Accordingly, Yosemite rangers are reporting an “uptick” in rattlesnake bites. They’re warning visitors to be extra-cautious, and to review official advice on how to handle rattlensake encounters.
“This summer season, there has been a noticeable uptick in rattlesnake bites in the greater Yosemite region. These two cases provide a good opportunity to review advice for how to handle an encounter with a rattlesnake.”Yosemite Park officials
Surviving a rattlesnake bite
In addition,Yosemite park officials are sharing their guidelines for surviving a rattlesnake encounter. If you’re planning on visiting the park any time soon – or any other known rattlesnake habitat – it is best to have these tips known by heart:
- Keep your distance. Rattlesnakes can strike only a distance equal to half their own length.
- Watch where you step or reach with your hands. Use extra care when opening and closing food lockers.
- Stand still if you think you hear a snake. As soon as you’ve located the snake, move away.
- Beware of snakes without a rattle—baby rattlesnakes don’t have rattles and adult rattles can break off.
If you are bitten, then the following may save your life:
- Remain calm and move slowly to keep your heart rate down
- Seek medical attention immediately
- DO NOT apply a tourniquet
- Or apply ice to the wound
- And never attempt to suck the venom out of the wound