Snake patrols picking up for animal control

By Thomas Garcia: Quay County Sun

With the temperatures getting warmer snakes are out looking for cool places to hide, said Mike Martinez, Tucumcari’s Animal Control supervisor.

Within the past month Martinez has caught 15 to 20 snakes, he said.

Most of them have been red racers and only one rattlesnake.

Recent police reports indicate that a snake was found in a motel lobby on Route 66, another was sighted on the back steps of a woman’s apartment on Tucumcari Boulevard and a bull snake was found at the corner of Third Street and West Tucumcari Boulevard.

“There has been an abundance of red racer snakes this year,” said Martinez. “The snake will try to find a cool place to hide, so it is important that you keep the crawl spaces under the house sealed up.”

Snakes will also stay concealed in tall weeds in the yard, Martinez said. They will crawl under air conditioners and even crawl up where pips enter the house, Martinez said.

If you come across a snake in your yard or home, you should call you local police department to dispose of the snake, he said.
To catch snakes, Martinez said he uses a five-foot snake tong that allows him to securely grasp the snake head and keep it out of the snake’s striking range.

“Never try to catch the snake yourself,” said Martinez. “Stay away from the snake even if you think it is not venomous. The snake can still cause you harm, and if you have an allergic reaction it could be fatal.”

If you are ever bitten by a snake you should call 911 or go to your local emergency room, Martinez said.

Even if you know the snake is not venomous and you are bitten, you should go to the ER just to be safe, said Martinez.
“The snake’s mouth is full of bacteria and could cause an infection.”

Quick look: Snake bites

How to Prevent Snake Bites
l Be aware of snakes that may be swimming in the water to get to higher ground and those that may be hiding under debris or other objects, or in tall grasses.
l If you see a snake, back away from it slowly and do not touch it.

Signs of Snake Bites
Depending on the type of snake, the signs and symptoms may include:
l A pair of puncture marks at the wound
l Redness and swelling around the bite
l Severe pain at the site of the bite
l Nausea and vomiting
l Labored breathing (in extreme cases, breathing may stop altogether)
l Disturbed vision
l Increased salivation and sweating
l Numbness or tingling around your face and/or limbs

What TO DO if you or someone else is bitten by a snake
l If you or someone you know are bitten, try to see and remember the color and shape of the snake, which can help with treatment of the snake bite.
l Keep the bitten person still and calm. This can slow down the spread of venom if the snake is poisonous.
l Seek medical attention as soon as possible.
l Dial 911
l Apply first aid if you cannot get the person to the hospital right away.
l Lay or sit the person down with the bite below the level of the heart.
l Tell him/her to stay calm and still.
l Cover the bite with a clean, dry dressing.

What NOT TO DO if you or someone else is bitten by a snake
l Do not pick up the snake or try to trap it (this may put you or someone else at risk for a bite).
l Do not apply a tourniquet.
l Do not slash the wound with a knife.
l Do not suck out the venom.
l Do not apply ice or immerse the wound in water.
l Do not drink alcohol as a pain killer.
l Do not drink caffeinated beverages.
Source: Centers for Disease Control