Coral Snake bite

goldenpond((Vero.Beach FL 9b))April 9, 2008

My daughter called me to say her 10 year old son wanted to play with the neighbor kids in the swale full of water in a neighbors lawn. She told him ABSOLUTELY NOT.(she was mostly concerned about pesticide run-off) He whined that all the other kids were doing it but she still held her ground.

He angrily went down the street and watched the neighbor kids play have fun, then came home screaming that one of the kids had been bitten by a coral snake and could not feel his arm so they were taking him to the hospital.

Below is the article in TCPALM

Coral snake bites teenager in Vero Beach

April 8, 2008

Coral snake antivenin was being brought in from Melbourne and Miami Tuesday night to aid a 15-year-old youth who was reported bitten in Vero Beach, a Vero Beach city official said Tuesday.

He was bitten Tuesday afternoon and was being treated at Indian River Medical Center, said Vero Beach Animal Control Officer Bruce Dangerfield. Further details werenÂt available. Coral snake venom attacks the nervous system.

"Unlike rattlesnakes, coral snakes donÂt strike," said Dangerfield. "You have to pick one up" to get bitten. "Usually they just want to get away."

To treat the youth, two vials of antivenin were rushed in from Holmes Regional Medical Center, Melbourne. Ten more vials were being brought in from the Miami Venom Bank.

Each year, coral snakes bite about 80 Americans, half of them in Florida.

Â

****My grandson decided it is better to obey his mama form now on.

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katkin_gw

Good thing he listened, but that poor kid that got bit should have too. Kids always think we want to stop their fun, they don't realize we are protecting them.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2008 at 5:26AM
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bihai(zone 9)

I caught one last year in my greenhouse using a broom and a trashcan. I couldn't believe it. I took a photo of it and emailed it to a herpetologist who confirmed the ID. I kept it just long enough to show it to my then 11 year old daughter so that she would know never to mess with them, then we took it across the way to a vacant field to let it go. It hit the ground and had completely disappeared from view in less than a second. They are very secretive, and extremely fast.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2008 at 7:11AM
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yogacathy

Oh my goodness. I'm glad your grandson listened to his Mom. I hope the other boy is OK.

Cathy

    Bookmark   April 9, 2008 at 8:04AM
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tannatonk23

Thanks to Marcia we all know to recognize the coral snake by it's black head! Beautiful snake.

I'm so glad that the boy received treatment right away. That's nothing to mess around with.

~Betsy

    Bookmark   April 9, 2008 at 8:52AM
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wanda662(Stuart, Fl)

It was on the news here. They said he was improving. That's good news.
I bet your Grand Son has learned his lesson to listen to Mom.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2008 at 10:52AM
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manature(9B Sanford, FL)

Grandson listened, and bitten boy recovering. Good news all around. Sad that every kid in Florida isn't taught in school, in science class or something, how to recognize a coral snake. It is SO easy to tell them from any other snake in Florida. Why oh why are lessons in things like this not given?

For those of you who have missed our past discussions on venomous snakes you might run across in your garden, the coral snake looks like this:

Notice that the snake's nose is BLACK. (Thanks, Betsy, for remembering). No need to try to recall rhymes, etc. A red, black & yellow banded snake in FLORIDA, with a BLACK NOSE, is a coral snake. Another piccie of one:

When you compare those photos to one of a harmless scarlet snake, you can clearly see the difference. All the other red, yellow & black banded snakes in FLORIDA have RED noses.

Doesn't matter if it's a scarlet snake, a scarlet kingsnake, or whatever. If the nose is RED, it's harmless. Though I stress in FLORIDA, because there are some western snakes that don't follow the same rule.

There are other differences, too, like the fact that the colored bands completely encircle the coral snake, where the non-poisonous mimics have light colored bellies. But just remember the BLACK nose, and you will be fine.

If you want more info on identifying coral snakes, do a search on here, and I think you can find the original post on this subject, with more photos and descriptions.

Hope this helps some of you.

Marcia

    Bookmark   April 9, 2008 at 11:57AM
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goldenpond((Vero.Beach FL 9b))

Marcia I was thinking that same thing.ACTUALLY I think they need a newcomer class for all those moving here.They could hit on water conservation,invasives,critters ets.But I TOTALLY agree our children need to learn about and RESPECT wildlife.(And human beings also LOL)

    Bookmark   April 9, 2008 at 4:06PM
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solstice98(9b/Orlando)

I think a Newcomer's Class would be a great idea! You have to attend BEFORE you can get a state Driver's License, a Homestead Exemption, or whatever we need to do to make sure people go.

Kate

    Bookmark   April 9, 2008 at 5:57PM
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junkyardgirl

Wow! My son and I were digging up a new garden once, and hit a bed of coral snake babies. They scattered so fast, we didn't have time to get scared. The kid that got bit probably picked it up. They actually have to chew on you to inject the venom. They don't have fangs.

I've also dug up a bed of garter snakes, and disturbed a bed of black snakes in my yard. I don't mind the garter snakes and black snakes. I have one black snake who has lived in my yard since I got here. Do black snakes live that long? I wonder if it really is the same one.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2008 at 7:02PM
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manature(9B Sanford, FL)

Junkyardgirl, I worked with snakes at the Central Florida Zoo, and while people usually don't get bitten by coral snakes unless they handle them, it isn't because they don't have fangs. They do. And not rear ones, either. They have two short, fixed fangs in the front of their mouth.

It is a common belief that they have to chew on you to inject venom. They don't. It's important to know that even a slight scratch from one of those short fangs can envenomate a person. But the snake is so retiring and nonaggressive that they generally do not choose to bite unless threatened or handled.

If you leave a coral snake alone, he will always choose to slip away, but if you pick one up, it definitely can bite you, does not need to chew, and can put two fang holes in your finger or hand very easily.

I don't know for sure how long black racers live, but that's a very interesting question. I wonder how long mine has been around, too. Will have to do some research on that.

Marcia

    Bookmark   April 9, 2008 at 7:57PM
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junkyardgirl

Marcia, thanks for that info. I guess that's a tale that's as old as...well, coral snakes!

I hope black racers live a long time. I love mine. He's part of the family.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2008 at 8:00PM
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manature(9B Sanford, FL)

You're welcome, Dear Heart! I love my snakes so much, even coral snakes, and I don't want anyone hurt by one because they have been given misinformation. (Those Old Wives have a lot to answer for! hehehe)

I'm glad you love your black racer and treat him with respect. If I can find out their life span somewhere, I'll get back to ya.

Marcia

    Bookmark   April 9, 2008 at 8:56PM
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wanda662(Stuart, Fl)

I too was just wondering how long a snake lived. I'm sure they live longer in captivity than in the wild. Let us know when you find out Marcia.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2008 at 5:14AM
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bihai(zone 9)

We have tons of snakes out here. So far this spring we have seen several rat snakes and some black racers, but we also have rattlesnakes, coral snakes (we now know, lol), water moccasins and I am certain many many other harmless species.

The coral snake I had to remove from my greenhouse was, as you said, very shy. It had gotten in and gotten "stuck"...it was all the way at the back wall and couldn;t seem to find the way out again. It would go from one end of the greenhouse, following the wall, to the other, turn around, and repeat. I watched it do that for several minutes and realized that I didn't want to be working in there around it while it was being a poor lost soul so I had to scoop it up and take it out. They sure are pretty. I am so glad that that boy is getting better. I would hate to think of it being my child.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2008 at 7:43AM
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manature(9B Sanford, FL)

I have been searching for longevity records on black racers and can't find anything so far. I did see that it takes two years for them to reach maturity, though they turn from their blotched camouglage baby coloration to the adult coloration when they get about 18" long. I saw somewhere that rattlesnakes can live ten years, though I can't find the reference material on that now. I'll keep looking. Interesting to know how long we can expect our yard buddies to keep us company.

Marcia

    Bookmark   April 10, 2008 at 10:02AM
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manature(9B Sanford, FL)

I'm glad you were able to relocate your greenhouse visitor. It can be tricky, and I don't normally advocate moving venomous snakes by oneself. Usually with a coral snake, you can sweep it into a container fairly easily and take it elsewhere, as it sounds like you did. But please, folks, DON'T try this with a rattler, unless you are an experienced snake person. Best to leave them an avenue of escape and get out of Dodge until they've taken it.

Remember, rattlesnakes can strike about 1/3 of their body length, lightning fast! You don't want any part of your body within range.

Marcia

    Bookmark   April 10, 2008 at 10:08AM
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bihai(zone 9)

Marcia,
very true. I was bitten by a Diamond Back rattlesnake when I was a child. We lived in Abilene TX then. It was a baby snake, 15-18" long, and it was a glancing blow, but I was still in the hospital for a while. I would never try to capture one alone, or even at all.

The first year we lived at this new house we had to call a herpetologist to relocate a 5 ft rattler.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2008 at 12:22PM
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manature(9B Sanford, FL)

Good for you, Bihai! I'm glad you found someone to remove it, and that you knew enough not to attempt it yourself. Or even to attempt to KILL a rattler that big. That's how many people are bitten.

I'm happy to hear your childhood rattlesnake experience ended well.

Marcia

    Bookmark   April 10, 2008 at 1:10PM
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atreelady(9b SW Orlando)

Marcia, I found these links on black racers which say they can live up to 10 years.

This link has black racers part way down the page:
http://www.freewebs.com/snakesofindiana/snakes2472inches.htm

This link lumps all racers together:
http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Coluber_constrictor.html

    Bookmark   April 10, 2008 at 11:44PM
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manature(9B Sanford, FL)

Thanks, Atreelady! I like both of those links, and I'm happy to think our southern black racers might live ten years. Hope the ones in MY garden do. I just saw my third one today, so I know I have at least 3 here. The first one from a couple of weeks ago was only about 18 to 20", the second one was much larger, maybe a bit over 3 feet, and today I saw one a bit over 2 feet. Small, medium and large. Wooohoooo! My black racers are thriving, apparently, and that makes me very happy.

Marcia

    Bookmark   April 11, 2008 at 12:02AM
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