Snakebites on the Rise in North Texas - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Snakebites on the Rise in North Texas



    Doctors at Texas Health Harris Methodist say they are seeing more snakebite victims this spring than usual. (Published Tuesday, June 11, 2013)

    It's snakebite season in North Texas and doctors at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth say they've already seen more snakebite victims than usual.

    The hospital says last year it treated 28 snakebite victims during an entire year, but halfway through 2013 doctors have treated 10 snakebite victims.

    Raymond Clark is being treated for a snakebite after he was bitten earlier this week. He was wearing flip flips while standing in tall grass in his Johnson County pasture at night and never saw the snake.

    "I was enjoying the stars and the quite night just being out away from everything and I kind of stepped back and I felt like I had a bee sting or something on my foot, something real sharp, it hurt," said Clark.

    Doctors say he's not the only North Texans caught of guard by snakes this spring.

    "The pit vipers, which are the venomous snakes in Texas all hunt by heat-seeking," said Dr. William Witham. "So what happens is people go out at night, typically in bare feet or flip flops or something like that, and they're much warmer than the surrounding grass,and so the snake sees them as food and attacks them."

    Witham says if you'll be in high grass or out mowing the lawn you should wear protective shoes or long pants and socks.

    If a snake does bite you and you think it's venomous or you're not sure, Witham says go the emergency room.

    Witham also says snap a picture of the snake if you can so doctors will know how to treat you.

    Witham also says there's no need to suck the venom out. "There's an old wives tale about cutting the wound and sucking the venom out, that's been proven to not work, so there's really no merit to doing that," he said.