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I saw my first rattlesnake of the season riding Trail 100 on Sunday. It was a 3 footer off of the side of the trail.

I have had a few close calls over the years, but in the past I have never thought twice about it. For some reason the thought of being bitten by a snake keeps freaking me out this year.

What would you do if you were bitten while out riding?

Anyway to limit the chances of being bitten other than the obvious of not riding?

Dave
 

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DJFPima said:
Anyway to limit the chances of being bitten other than the obvious of not riding?
Just the opposite: keep riding.

I'd venture to say, with the rare occurance of being bitten while riding (see the post from the dude in Tucson), I'd venture to say that those who have been bit (which is a rariety anyway) were not riding. The only two close encounters I had were:

1) sitting on a rock where a snake was hiding. I was on the rock--at night--changing a flat, and was sitting for at least 2 mins, before somebody riding with a dog rolled up on us, and the dog started smelling underneath me, which spooked the rattler.

2) was on T100 with the SO, and hit the trailhead at DD. I passed a rattler off the side of the trail, and kept going (it actually coiled). I went about 50 yards ahead and then stopped to tell Autumn to keep riding because there was a snake. Of course, she didn't hear me and stopped riding right next to the snake (thankfully, it didn't strike).

Overall, I've probably seen 20 snakes in my 5+ years biking in AZ. I'd say maybe 5 of those times, the snake actually was in striking position.

(What I'm more nervous about is the scoprions, which I have not seen in the house....yet.)
 

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DJFPima said:
What would you do if you were bitten while out riding?
Regarding what to do if struck when you are out in the boonies...from my Wilderness First Responder and EMT manuals...

Remember that 1 in 4 bites the snake doesn't inject any venom and hope you are lucky. If you're not lucky it will likely burn, swell, and turn black and blue within 5-10 minutes and spread over the next 36 hours.

1. Keep calm. Each year 7,000-9,000 poisonous snake bites are reported in the US. Between 1983 and 1998 only 10 deaths by snakebite were reported to poison control centers.
2. Wash the wound
3. Immobilize the extremity
4. Keep the patient at rest with the extremity at heart level if possible
5. Remove rings, jewelry, or anything that will reduce circulation when swelling occurs
6. Mark swollen area with a pen to monitor how it increases
7. Keep the patient hydrated
8. Evacuate the patient by carrying or going for help to carry. Or if the patient is stable by slow walking with frequent rests. [My own editorial comment would be that coasting downhill on a bike might be a good compromise between not working too hard and getting to an emergency room fast].

There are a whole list of DO NOTs...
1. Do not cut and suck or use the Sawyer extractor--both shown to be ineffective
2. Do not give painkillers or alcohol
3. Do not apply ice or immerse wound in cold water
4. Do not apply a tourniquet
5. Do not attempt to capture the snake

I'm not a medical professional so YMMV, but I'm more worried about wrecking than snakes! Have fun. :thumbsup:
 

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Elitest thrill junkie
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DJFPima said:
What would you do if you were bitten while out riding?
Panic.
 

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Snakes wont bother you if you dont bother them. Thats how I look at it at least. I just respect them and give them a lot of space. I never get tired of seeing them though, and enjoy them from a very safe distance.

Saw a GIANT Gila on Squaw Peak maybe 2 summers ago. First one I ever saw out in the desert, and he had an attitude about him. Almost like he thought he owned the place, haha.

Lets use that as a reminder to those folks that are new to the state or might not know this about the Gila Monster. Dont get bit by one of these guys either, because they have some nasty things going on in their mouth too. Im not too sure a Gila bite would be worse then a Rattle Snake bike, but it can still be potentially dangerous!
 

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Already I've seen four snakes in the past two weeks here in Tucson - none of them have been rattlers.

Last summer I lost count of the snakes I saw - I stopped counting at 18... 14 of those were rattlers.

Dan_AZ had some great recommendations for snake bites, although I'd probably panic like Jayem!

My friend, who is a wildlife biologist, was bitten while doing work deep in the Grand Canyon. She was lucky - the snake apparently didn't release much venom when it struck her leg.
 

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i'm with EnduroBlood, don't fuq with Mother Nature and likely she won't fuq with you.

But it still pays to know what to do in emergencies because Bad Things Sometimes Happen.

I'd think it VERY worth-while time for any MTBer to take at least an entry level 1st-aid type course, if one is available. If nothing else, having that knowledge rankling around the back of your head cuts down on panic response.
 

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swarga said:
Not a rattle snake but we chased this gila monster out of harms way at Haws about 9:00 Saturday morning.:D

I've been here 40 years and this was the biggest Gila monster I've seen.
That is awesome. I've seen one Gila monster in the 30+ years I've lived in Phx. I feel priviliged.
 

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Snake Posts

I have two comments to the numerous snake posts we see here on mtbr.

1. We all know not to f**k with snakes. No need to tell us that. The concern is surprise encounters that result in attacks. As to that concern, there is really not much to do. You get bit or not. I say keep riding and stay on the trails.

2. The low death rate from bites provides me with absolutely no comfort at all. I am not worried about dying. I am worried about permanent injury and/or health issues.
 

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We saw this guy last weekend during the Nova at the Sport Loop Trailhead. It was right before the start of the Women's Pro XC race. We squirted a little water at him and he tuned around and went back into the desert.

 

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I've got the same question. 10 miles away from the trail head...do you try to get back asap, take your time to keep your HR low...or just call for a helicopter evac? My biggest fear is getting bit while riding alone far from help.

I've been freaking out about snakes lately. I took a spill on Saturday miles (and big climbs) away from any trailhead, fell on some rocks that just made me think they were the perfect home for some snakes. Totally freaked out. Luckily (or unluckily) the pain of the fall started to outweigh the fear of snakes after a while.
 
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