Be 'snake awake'

If you live in the B.C. Interior, chances are you have had some sort of snake encounter at some point in time.

Bull snakes, rubber boas, garter snakes, gopher snakes are all harmless members of the snake family and can be found throughout the region.

And so can their much more dangerous cousin, the rattlesnake.

Stephanie Winton, Thompson Rivers University graduate student, said many people are bear aware, but not necessarily snake aware, or "snake awake" as she calls it.

So she produced a video instructing people what to do when they see a snake.

While the video talks specifically about the Kamloops area, the advice she gives is universal.

Winton provides advice on how hikers can keep themselves and their pets safe.

“If you're bitten by a rattlesnake you want to stay calm,” said Winton. “Do not apply a tourniquet, you don't want to cut it out, you don't want to suck it out, you don't want to ice it.”
Winton said to keep track of the swelling by circling the growing redness and marking the time while heading to the hospital.

That will allow the doctor to assess how much venom has been injected.

Rattlesnakes also can deliver a dry bite, meaning they do not inject venom into their victims.

“But you should still go to the hospital,” said Winton.

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