Wildfires are lapping at Yosemite National Park’s southern edge, but there’s another threat loose: Rattlesnakes are keeping the park’s search and rescue team busy. The snakes recently bit two hikers, requiring helicopter rescues to reach the victims.
A rattlesnake bit one man in his mid-30’s as he was fishing barefoot in the Tuolumne River on August 27, park officials reported. A fellow hiker alerted officials of the « snake emergency » using a satellite messenger device. Unable to hike out, the victim’s wife shared their location coordinates on her phone, allowing officials to locate them and send a helicopter to rescue the man. He was given two doses of antivenom and treated for dehydration, nausea and pain.
A second rescue happened days later when a rattlesnake bit a hiker, part of a group, while climbing a steep uphill slope. Park officials reported that the bite victim’s fellow hikers waited until the snake left, then approached him.
“We were on the trail, hiking by ankle-high shrubs, » a hiking companion told park officials, “when out of the blue—with no rattle, no hiss, no sound whatsoever—a snake struck.”
One of the hikers had cell service and called 911. A rescue helicopter located the hikers, with support from a ground team that made its way to the group to treat the victim.
The rescue team took the victim to a hospital in Modesto, where he received four doses of anti-venom. He was also treated for dehydration, nausea, and pain, with swelling in his leg and limited range of motion.
« This summer season, there has been a noticeable uptick in rattlesnake bites in the greater Yosemite region. These two cases provide a good opportunity to review advice for how to handle an encounter with a rattlesnake, » reported Yosemite officials.
-Watch where you step or reach with your hands. Use extra care when opening and closing food lockers.
-Stand still if you think you hear a snake. As soon as you’ve located the snake, move away.
-Beware of snakes without a rattle—baby rattlesnakes don’t have rattles and adult rattles can break off.
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