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Snake Week: Know your snakes

posted May 31st, 2013 by
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I hope you have all had a chance to check out the May/June issue of Tulsa Pets Magazine and in particular my article on snake bites. If not, you can check it out here: http://www.tulsapetsmagazine.com/category/past-issues/.

I packed quite a bit of info into the article, but still have some more interesting info to share when it comes to snake bites and pets.

One of the most important things that can help your pet if he does get bitten is knowing exactly what did it.

According to Dr. Shad Wilkerson, DVM at Oklahoma Veterinary Specialists, copperheads are the most common snake found in our area and “luckily the least dangerous of the ones we have here.”

But do you know what a copperhead looks like? I didn’t before working on this article.

Like a lot of people, I find snakes… yucky, to put it nicely. I don’t really want to think about them or look at their pictures just because.

But as a responsible pet owner, should one of my animals become injured by a snake, I need to know what I’m dealing with.

So for the pet owners who could use a little brushing up on IDing snakes, here are the top three you need to look out for.

Copperhead: The most common venomous snake in our area, also the least venomous. Read more and view pictures here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agkistrodon_contortrix.

Rattlesnakes: Next most common venomous snake in our area and one of the most venomous. Read more and view pictures here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rattlesnake

Water moccasins or cottonmouth: Not seen very often in our area, more venomous than a copperhead, but less venomous than a rattlesnake. People often confuse black rat snakes for the water moccasin. The difference is black rat snakes do not have fangs, just small teeth. Read more and view pictures here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agkistrodon_piscivorus

In the heat of the moment, it may be hard to remember which is which. For those new to identifying snakes, try to snap a picture with your cell phone if you have it handy and you feel safe doing so.

If you are able to, kill the snake and bring it with you to veterinarian’s office.

And for more info on snake bites and what to do if your pet gets bitten, make sure to check out the article in this month’s issue: http://www.tulsapetsmagazine.com/category/past-issues/.

- Lauren Cavagnolo, [email protected]l.com