Monday, June 27, 2011

Rattlesnakes in Savage Park

Source: Maryland Departmentt of Natural Resources

Just got a call from Pat who was hiking on the Wincopin Trail in Savage Park this morning with her dogs Ancho and Sparkle when Sparkle got bitten by a rattlesnake that was on the trail. Pat thought she was fine at first, but once she got home her face started swelling. Pat called her vet and rushed her to an emergency clinic, where Sparkle is being treated and will remain overnight.
Pat will keep us posted on her progress, but wanted to let everyone know so that we stay on the lookout and be prepared.
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources has an article on Venomous Snakes in Maryland. Only two snakes in Maryland are venomous: the Timber Rattlesnake and the Northern Copperhead.
I found another article, Keep Your Dog Safe from Rattlesnake Bites, published on a site called Desert USA.
Some take-home points from the article:
Snake Encounters
If you and your dog encounter a snake you should remain calm and act cautiously. A rattlesnake can strike up to half the distance their length when coiled. If they are on a ledge or on higher ground they can strike even longer distances. If you are in striking distance get your dog to sit or remain still. The snake will try and get away from you, but if you are too close or make a lot of movement they may strike at you or your dog in self-defense. If you feel you can back away cautiously, do so slowly without any sudden movements. If you are not in striking distance turn around and move away from the snake. Let the snake clear the trail before continuing. If you can go around it on another path, then do so at a safe distance.
Do NOT provoke the snake. Do NOT poke it with a stick. Do NOT try and catch it. Do NOT tease it. More snake bites occur when people or dogs try to play with the snake. Be smart and leave the snake alone. Keep your dog safe!
When hiking with your dog remember to take the following things with you . . .
- Make sure you have the phone number of the closest 24-hour emergency vet service if you are hiking or walking after hours or on the weekend.
- Pack a lightweight towel or blanket to use as a sling in case your dog needs to be carried back to your car.
Source: Maryland Departmentt of Natural Resources
- Always carry water and a bowl (collapsible) for your dog to drink water during your hike.
There's more. I would encourage everyone to read up and be prepared.