Am retired, can't hear a rattle, can't see too well........hunt rattlesnakes for a hobby. Skinning a fresh killed snake splattered with venom can be dangerous. How or what will kill or neutralize the venom?
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If I were you I'd give up the hobby of rattlesnake hunting. Evidently you do't know what you're doing.You got to hear and see to be able to avoid getting bitten. Hearing is almost more important then seeing, since almost always you'll hear the rattler before you can spot it.
What you are doing is irresponsible.
Nothing will kill or neutralize the venom. If you get bitten your only hope is that your local hospital will have the antivenom on hand to give it to you. And if you get bitten again in too short of a period (like within 2 months) you can't be given the antivenom. Adrenalin shots into your heart are the only option then. I know because I had a customer who went through that ordeal. He gave up rattlesnake hunting for good. You should too.
I do agree with Superpig that you should find a new hobby for the fact that Rattlesnake hunting, safely, requires full senses and reflexes because you never know how close you are. Sometimes, they do not rattle, or have no rattle due to losing it down the road somewhere.
I don't agree with killing snakes or any creature for the simple sake of killing as there are plenty of options if it is only a matter of getting the snakes out of the way, however as a hunter myself I won't hold it against you as we all have our own ideas and rights. I do suggest education over hatred of the animals if that's all it is. For all I know, you love the taste of Rattler meat. If that's the case, more power to you.
The venom will lose its toxicity once expelled from the glands, but not all at once or right away. Washing it away and letting the area dry is the first step. Medical gloves are a good idea. If the venom is only on your skin, you can typically wash it away with absolutely minimal or no ill effects. However, if it somehow finds its way into a cut or other open wound, you could be in some trouble, even hours after the snake's death, even though the venom will begin to degrade along with the rest of the snake as soon as death occurs.
Well, Superpig, I'm not totally blind or irresponsible. I was born in Montana rattlesnake country. I shoot their heads off before I get within their body length, but it spreads venom all over the place. I use rubber gloves to skin them, roll up the skins and put in freezer until I have a larger batch for tanning. Use the skins for imbedding into pistol grips. I understand the venom is not degraded by freezing and doubt that washing with water will get rid of all of it. Seems like something like bleach, which kills many animal germs, viruses, and bacteria would kill the venom. What do you think?
To reply to MJS: I'm a Korean war veteran and don't kill for the sake of killing. Still move pretty fast for a 71 year old, MJS. Don't like rattlesnakes and think they are a predator. I appologize for not being more lenghty in my first posting.
If there is irresposability here I think it would be the person/s that are not giving the information as to neutralizing the poison. People handle these and sell or pass them on to other people with the possibily to put them in harms way! Their was a cowboy who got bitten through his boot and died...another took his boots not knowing the fangs were imbedded in the leather and .........!
A venomologist or snake milker should certainly know about this subject!
Having being bitten in 1979 in the hand. I suggest if the venom gets on the surface of your skin by spraying, just rinse it off . You may feel tingly on the dermis temporary? If cuts or older wounds on the skin you may have some problems. Water by continuosly rinsing will delute the poison by weakining it's strenght.If your biten by the fangs you can very well be in trouble. Not always do venomous snakes release their venom. Just remember to have the nearest Hospital or clinic in mind to proceed there once bitten.Never administer your own antidote.Never run and try to be calm and make your way to the clinic? If you have a cell phone call 911 and tell the dispatcher your location.More than likely someone will be looking for you as you near your automobile.If possible try to check with the Medical Facility if they can treat snake bites? Just because they are a hospital unit, does not mean they can save your life. You will have to be tested at the Clinic to see if you can take the antidote.You can request the Clinic to contact the nearest Snake or reptile zoo for advice to give the Doctors on duty.I have over 20 years experience handling Pit Vipers and Elapids(cobras).If you handle them , some day you will be bitten.Timber Rattlesnakes can strike and hit you at 60 miles an hour per second.If you think your fast enough, and wont get hit, your wrong.
If you would like more information on this topic , please email me. Hopes this helps? Jerred.
Wow, after reading all of this I feel pretty foolish. My husband and I recently purchased a 100 acre ranch between Ozona and Iraan Texas. We were out on the ATV the other day and right in front of us there appeared a 4'9" diamond back. Because our 4 yr old grandson was camping with us and this was about 100 yrds from camp, we decided to end its life. My husband blew it's head off and I immediately poked and prodded, then decided to pick it up. Headless it was still moving. Very strange to me. Anyway, we took it back to camp where I decided to cut off the smushed remains of the head, slit it all the way up the belly and peeled it like a catfish. It was very easy except for the continuous squirming and I messed up the cut at the rattles. There were 13 of them but I saved them anyway. I stretched it out, salted the hell out of it and sat it in the sun for 2 days. It is really a beautiful skin. I had no ill effects and did not use rubber gloves. I do feel foolish about that, but have learned some things I didn't know by reading everyones responses. Feel free to e-mail me to chastise or give me a good going slap on the back.