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Rattlesnakes in the Twin Tiers: Your Questions Answered

ELMIRA, N.Y. (18 NEWS) - While rattlesnakes usually stick to pretty secluded areas, the warmer temperatures recently have brought the cold blooded creatures out in plain sight making many across the Twin Tiers double think that next step.  

"The Timber Rattlesnakes have a venom that is largely destructive to local tissue so you'll have bleeding, bruising, swelling, and even difficult to control bleeding because your clotting doesn't work as well." Dr. Dylan Kellogg of Arnot Health said. 

Some have reached out to us with concerns wondering if our local hospitals are equipped to treat a poisonous bite in the short window a victim has before symptoms become more severe. We asked doctors at Arnot Health what the first step after a bite should be. 

"Basically throw everything you've seen in the movies out. Cutting the bite site is not a good idea, sucking the venom out is a terrible idea, and other things that you may have heard about like shocking the bite site, or freezing the bite site...none of that helps and has a lot of chance to cause harm," Dr. Kellogg said. 

Instead Kellogg says to calmly and quickly call 911 and get to the nearest Emergency room where an anti-venom can be administered. Arnot does in fact have the starter dose on hand for $6,000 a pop, but in cases where a second dose is needed, it has to be acquired from Cornell University. The same goes for your pets. Because the anti-venom is so expensive many local vets don't even carry it, meaning you could be in a race against time to get your pet to Ithaca. 

Always better to be safe then sorry...

"Don't try to catch her kill a snake that's another way that people get bitten even went dead snake still have a bite reflex so there's been reports of people cutting off the head of a snake and grabbing it and they've been that way so if you see a snake you should call animal control to deal with the," Dr. Kellogg said. 

The anti-venom should be covered under most insurance plans but for pets it's less likely. 

Samantha and a camera crew will be joining our area's only New York State Licensed Rattlesnake Expert for a hike through the woods tomorrow for tips on what to look out for while hiking and biking in the Twin Tiers this Summer. She'll have that part of the story later this week. 

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