Yikes! As if traveling on the trails westward weren't hard enough, the west and most of the United States is inhabited by rattlesnakes. Only Alaska, Hawaii, and Maine are free of poisonous snakes.
Now, most of the time a snake will slither away without a fight, but when they do strike, ouch!
And the baby snakes are worse than the adults. The reason being most of the time a baby will inject a full load of venom. Many a stock animal was bit and lost and occasionally people. The bite is not always fatal, but they are always painful.
The treatment we see on TV and in the movies ~ cutting the bite area and sucking out the poison ~ is not used any more. Instead, keep still, get to a doctor, and try to identify the species of snake - without getting bitten of course.
Other remedies usually included whiskey, tobacco, salt, eggs, and kerosene and gunpowder as well as poultice from various roots and plants. Many people no doubt survived because snakes don't always get a large enough dose of venom into the bite.
Early newspapers on the prairie often included snake bite events and told if the victim survived or not. Those that died were often the young or old. Sometimes, their death may well have been more from the remedies as the bite. Some of the roots can cause death as well as great amounts of whiskey.
So watch yourself out there. Spring and summer spell snake weather. People are still bitten today. While their prognosis is better than their counterparts of the old west, five-six still die each year from poisonous snake bites.
Hope you enjoyed this slithery post about snakes. Think back to all the brave pioneers who marched through the country enduring all sort of hardship and give them a hearty thumbs up.
Have a blessed day!
I love to write stories about the old west and the brave men and women who settled our nation. You can find my books on Amazon under Patricia PacJac Carroll.
My latest book is The Judge's Bride