Why would you want to know about Arizona snakes? If you are an outdoor enthusiast or just get involved with a lot of outdoor activities and have ever thought about a holiday in Arizona then there are a few basic things you need to know before you begin your journey.
Firstly, Arizona is home to a large number of native venomous creatures. This is due, in large, to the climatic conditions which are quite tropical and promote the habitability and environmental conditions that attract such creatures and promote their survival.
It’s worth noting that for almost all venomous creatures, which also include spiders, lizards, bees, scorpions, by and large very few deaths have resulted from bites from any of these over the years. Today there are anti-venoms and anti-venins which will treat pretty well all the bites you are likely to ever get in Arizona.
A point to note: “Anti-venom” generically refers to chemically produced antidotes to venomous bites and “Antivenin” are biologically produced antidotes derived from animal serums.
Each year in Arizona there are thousands of visits to emergency departments as a result of snake bites and other venomous creature bites. And only a handful result in deaths. For example, only one death from a Bark Scorpion bite has been recorded since 1964. Although painful in most cases, bites from Arizona’s snakes are rarely fatal or cause permanent disfiguration.
However, you would not want to ignore a bite on the basis the odds were in your favour that it wasn’t going to be anything more than a bee sting experience. ALWAYS seek urgent medical attention and then you’ll always be sure to walk away in one piece.
Know your Snakes:
Knowing what’s out there and understanding the precautions and the risks has to be your first step.
There are 17 species of non-venomous snake and 22 species of venomous snake to contend with in Arizona. Below is the list for reference.
- Arizona Long-nosed Snake
- Arizona Milk Snake
- Arizona Mountain Kingsnake
- Arizona Patch-nosed Snake
- Banded Leaf-nosed Snake
- Black-necked Garter Snake
- Blind Snake
- Checkered Garter Snake
- Coachwhip Snake (Red Racer)
- Common Kingsnake
- Desert Kingsnake
- Glossy Snake
- Ground Snake
- Desert Rosy Boa Snake
- Saddled Leafnose Snake
- Sonoran Gopher Snake
- Western Hognose Snake
- Arizona Coral Snake
- Banded Burrowing Snake
- Brown Vine Snake
- Mexican Vine Snake
- Tropical Vine Snake
- Sidewinder Rattlesnake
- Grand Canyon Rattlesnake
- Arizona Black Rattlesnake
- Great Basin Rattlesnake
- Tiger Rattlesnake
- Hopi Rattlesnake
- Lyre Snake
- Mojave Rattlesnake
- Night Snake
- Northern Blacktail Rattlesnake
- Prairie Rattlesnake
- Arizona Ridge-nosed Rattlesnake
- Southwestern Blackhead Snake
- Speckled Rattlesnake
- Western Coral Snake
- Western Diamondback Rattlesnake
- Western Shovel-nosed Snake
An understanding of the animals and their nature is always helpful. A majority, if not all, of the snakes around the world are generally non-aggressive and will steer away from humans given a chance and fair warning.
Lastly, the bite of a snake, venomous or otherwise, is generally used for one of only two reasons:
1. To hunt and kill it’s food,
2. For self-defence if all else fails.
So keeping an eye out for these creatures and avoiding them is the best approach always, but should you encounter one and be fascinated enough to want to get up close – always keep in mind that it will be frightened of your attention and will assume you are a predator and up to no good. They will not understand your motives and any attempt to handle or corner one will result in an aggressive self-defence response in most cases a bite.
Now that’s all well and good assuming you can see them first. But as we know, the diversity of Fauna in Arizona is the highest in the continent of the USA and, as we know, nature has given each creature the tools to make its way in life and camouflage in the animal world is stunningly good. You may never see the snake that is about to bite you!
So to sum up this brief resume on Arizona snakes;
- Snakes bite if threatened or handled,
- Almost half of them are non-venomous but that doesn’t mean a bite won’t hurt.
- They are more frightened of you then you are of them (probably)
- Very few can inflict a fatal bite to humans that are healthy and of generally strong disposition – i.e. they are potentially dangerous to the very young or the very old, and pets – dogs etc.
- Always seek emergency medical treatment if you are bitten.
- Learn to identify the snakes you may encounter and what their habits are so you may avoid any encounter you may regret later.