If you are bitten, the University of California, Santa Barbara indicates that the following are the possible CLINICAL EFFECTS - Snake venoms are highly complex mixtures of many proteins and peptides, including some enzymes; these may cause local effects such as inflammation, damage to vascular epithelium, and tissue necrosis. Some venoms can also cause neurotoxicity and interfere with blood clotting.
The effects of rattlesnake bites are extremely variable and depend on the following factors: 1) the age, size vigor, and health of the victim; 2) the susceptibility of the victim to protein poisoning; 3) the emotional condition of the victim -- extreme fear will affect heart action and therefore the rate of venom absorption; 4) the site of the bite; 5) the nature of the bite -- whether a direct strike with both fangs, or a glancing blow or scratch; 6) the number of bites; 7) the length of time the snake holds on, because it may withdraw or be torn loose before injection; 8) the extent of the snake's fear or anger -- the snake's natural tendency is to withhold venom for its next prey, but if hurt or violently excited, it will probably inject most of its venom; 9) the species, size and age of the snake, the venom quality, and depth of envenomation; 10) the condition of the venom glands -- whether full or partially depleted because of recent feeding, defense, or ill health; 11) the condition of the fangs, whether broken, lately renewed, or ready for shedding; 12) the presence of toxic microorganisms in the snake's mouth -- this is the main source of poison in the gila monster, the only worrisome lizard in the USA.
Pit viper envenomation may cause severe pain, usually occurring almost immediately after the bite, but it may also be painless. Swelling, erythema, and ecchymosis may occur locally, and later, blebs may form near the puncture site and spread along the swollen limb. Regional effects, as with a bite on a hand or foot (the most common locations), often include edema of the arm or leg (which may be massive), ecchymosis, and lymphadenopathy. Systemic signs and symptoms can include weakness, sweating, chills, numbness, and paresthesias of the tongue and perioral region, nausea and vomiting (which can be so severe that the esophagus ruptures), muscle fasciculations, bleeding hypotension, convulsions, respiratory depression, and renal failure.
Rattlesnake bites are rarely fatal. Victims will usually
complain of pain at the bite site and swelling may be evident.
Tremendous local tissue destruction can ensue. Prompt medical
therapy avoids this problem.
Additional information on snakes and snake bite
Pioneers used to treat snake bites by cutting between the fang marks and sucking (by mouth) out the venom then spitting it out. This treatment, or some form close to it, was the accepted first aid method for years. It is not particularly effective and has several potential negative effects such as infection of the wound area and / or poisoning the person doing the sucking. This is NOT the current recommended treatment. Click here for information on handling a rattlesnake bite emergency.
The scorpions in this area only get to be about 1.5 inches long.
They're dark brown and if you're going to see one it'll usually be
in a wood pile or under a rock, although the only ones (3) I've
personally seen were all in our house (don't panic... if you
missed the other note about this, our house sat vacant for some
time before we moved in. The critters had plenty of time to
invade). I'm still checking on the virility of their sting, but
from personal reports, it was about like a bee sting.
Killer Bees (Africanized Bees)
According to entomologists, Africanized bees look like regular honey bees. Africanized bees sting only once, but, the problem lies in the swarms. They are like standard honey bees in every respect except their dedication to defending their hive. Their sting venom is the same potency as regular bees and their stinger pulls out when they do sting, allowing for one sting each. Instead of the 10 - 40 that come out of a normal honey bee's hive for defense, they send 100 - 400+, and have a dogged determination to attack everything that is moving in the area. A recent study proves that the Africanized bees will chase someone up to 100 yards instead of 10-15 yards with regular bees.
They are not currently found in Northern California, but are working their way up the state a little each year. The map indicates the territory they can now be found in. Please visit the universities listed below for details.
A recent special on "The Animal Planet" concludes the
best thing to do if being attacked, is to run as far away from the
hive as quickly as possible since they're very territorial. There
is extensive information on Africanized Bees online at various
California entomology sites:
The website below presents evidence for the lack of brown recluse spiders as part of the Californian spider fauna. Unfortunately, this contradicts what most Californians believe; beliefs that are born out of media-driven hyperbole and erroneous, anxiety-filled public hearsay which is further compounded by medical misdiagnoses. Although people are free to disagree, this opinion has come about after almost a decade of constant research. In addition to personal experience, the sources for this opinion encompasses conversations with, interactions with, and the cumulative knowledge of the following, who have experience or expertise in the state of California and, in some cases, are national or international experts: Click Here for more details.
Black Widow Spiders
Black Widow is considered the most venomous spider in
The venom of the black widow spider is 15 times as toxic as the venom of
the prairie rattlesnake.
Black Widow spiders are not usually deadly, especially to adults,
because they inject only a small amount of venom.
Only the female Black Widow is venomous; males and juveniles are
The female Black Widow eats the male after mating.
The female Black Widow hangs belly upward and rarely leaves the web.
The Black Widow is also called the "hourglass" or
You might wonder why the discussion of ticks isn't left for the "pets" section. It is, but you'll find it here as well because they do pose some threat to humans.
Lyme disease is carried by ticks and as humans and nature come
closer and closer together, humans are getting exposed to Lyme
disease more often. The sites below will provide photos and
detailed information about Lyme Disease and how to recognize the
ticks that carry it and its early symptoms.
Another tick born disease surfaced in Northern California in 2000 and then with only one known case in Sonoma county -- until a neighbor became ill with it in January 2001. Hers is the first known case in the Gold Country of California.
It's called Ehrlichiosis.
Ehrlichiosis is caused by an extremely small type of bacterium
known as Ehrlichiae. Ehrlichiae are closely related to Rickettsiae,
the type of bacteria that cause Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF).
Ehrlichiae invade, and live within, white blood cells
(leucocytes), which are part of the immune system. The disease is
transmitted by ticks.
Symptoms - Clinical and laboratory manifestations of
infection with HME or HGE are similar. Patients usually complain
of fever, headache, chills, malaise, muscle and joint pains,
beginning one to 21 (average seven) days following infection. Some
have nausea, vomiting, anorexia, and acute weight loss as well.
In HME, cough, sore throat, swollen glands, diarrhea, and swollen
glands were noted in one quarter of patients. Low counts of white
blood cells and platelets occur in over 60%, while 86% have
elevated liver enzymes by the time they seek medical attention.
Symptoms vary greatly in severity, ranging from a mild illness to
a severe, life-threatening condition. Deaths have occurred in
approximately 2% to 3% of patients, including previously healthy
Note: The neighbor's case started with a tick that became imbedded in her hair. Once removed, the wound failed to heal for 12-14 days. The onset of symptoms started shortly after the bite, but was not diagnosed for several months. This is not a well-known disease in this area. We recommend if you get a tick bite to go to the address below and print the entire article to take to your doctor.
Resource & more info: lymedisease.org
You can protect yourself from ticks by a couple of simple things:
Bats eat lots of bugs, don't carry rabies any
more than other species of animal, and are endangered in many
areas of California because their habitat is being lost to humans.
There are a number of beautiful snakes in California. They serve a vital function in the balance of nature. If you kill all snakes, you'll have more rodents and bugs. Please learn about these wonderful creatures and don't just kill all snakes because you haven't taken the time to educate yourself or your family. Here are some shortcuts to lots of education about snakes.
All photos on this site are copyrighted. Many are available to purchase, however, at www.19thCentury.us