Prairie Rattlesnakes welcome newest bundles of joy this fall
South Dakota is home to only one venomous snake and its offspring is joining the world right now.
RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - South Dakota is home to only one venomous snake and its offspring is joining the world right now.
“Usually they come out at the end of August, clear into October even you’ll find them, as long as it’s warm enough out,” said Ryan Comer, a reptile keeper for Reptile Gardens. “The babies are coming out right now. All the calls we keep getting or people are posting all over different networks.”
Prairie rattlesnakes typically give birth to five to 20 babies every year, during the end of summer and the beginning of fall.
And the little critters are prepared to protect themselves straight out of the womb.
“So babies are a big problem right now,” continued Comer. “They’re live-born, the babies come out ready to fend for themselves right away. The big problem too with our Prairie Rattlesnakes, especially the babies, is they often get confused with baby Yellow Belly Racers and Bullsnakes. The babies of both of those look almost identical to a baby Rattle Snake and a lot of people get them confused a lot of times.”
Telling them apart is as simple as looking at their tail, baby Rattlesnakes may not rattle but are born with a button on their tail, rather than tapering off to a point.
But with these little bundles of joy come some common misconceptions.
“Everyone thinks that baby rattlesnakes are a lot more dangerous than the adults,” said Comer. “That’s not really true. With that, the adults are going to have the ability to inject a lot more venom than a baby would, that’s another one of those myths out there.”
If you come upon a baby or adult rattler, keep your distance, walk around, and leave them alone. But if you get bit, get to a hospital sooner, rather than later.
“The best thing that people can do, there’s a lot of the old myths, like you can cut the wound, suck the venom out, put ice on it, tourniquets, none of those actually work,” continued Comer. “The best thing is to just get to the hospital as quick as you can.”
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