Snakes in Yosemite | Be watchful on your Half Dome hike

There are indeed snakes in Yosemite. “Pit Viper” is the name given the Northern Pacific Rattlesnakes you might encounter. They are  distinguished by elliptical vertical pupils, a triangular head and a small pit below the eye.

The rattle can vibrate up to 98 times 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. You’ll be OK.

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 give 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.

You could get tremors, paralysis, even shock and cardiac arrest. Old remedies like cutting the bite and sucking out the venom only work when John Wayne does it in movies. Most snake bite kits have been proven to be ineffective. There is one called a Sawyer Extractor that does work. It looks like a syringe but when you depress the plunger it sucks the skin up like a hickey to draw out the fluid.

Unrelated thought worth quoting: “Baby Snakes. Late at night is when they come out . Baby Snakes. Sure you know what I’m talkin’ about. Pink ‘n’ wet, they make the best kinda pet. Baby, Baby.” – Frank Zappa

MrHalfDome™ – Rick Deutsch – www.HikeHalfDome.com

One Best Hike: Yosemite’s Half Dome

About Mr Half Dome - Rick Deutsch

Mr Half Dome. Has written the only half dome hiking guide, One Best Hike: Yosemite's Half Dome. Has hiked it 31 times to day. Lives in San Jose, CA Available for presentations. Carpe Diem Experience, LLC
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