There are indeed snakes in Yosemite. “Pit Viper” is the name given the Northern Pacific Rattlesnakes you might encounter. (Coral snakes are the other major family.) These guys are distinguished by elliptical vertical pupils, a triangular head and a small pit below the eye. The rattle can vibrate up to 98 cycles per second! Most snakes are not aggressive, but if you put your hand in a dark hole, near a rock or bushy area, you might startle them.
Of the 7,000 snake bites in the whole US a year, only 15 on average are fatal. Adult snakes tend to know we are not prey, so they don’t inject too much venom. However, baby snakes haven’t learned that so they tend to clamp down and really dish it out. The major first aid treatment is to remain calm and keep the bitten part lower than the heart to reduce the circulation of the venom. Immobilize the bitten part (usually an extremity) and apply a sterile dressing. Note the type of snake by its pattern and shape and get help as soon as you can.
Unrelated thought worth quoting: “Baby Snakes. Late at night is when they come out . Baby Snakes. Sure you know what I’m talkin’ abou . Pink ‘n’ wet, they make the best kinda pet. Baby, Baby Snakes.” – Frank Zappa
*Mr.Half Dome-Rick Deutsch-www.HikeHalfDome.com*