Photo special to the Miner
Believe it or not, most snakes are shy.
Most snakes are shy, and try to avoid people, but in the spring they come out of hibernation to venture out in search of food, and the males in search of females.
Because snakes have no concept of boundaries, they sometimes end up sharing their habitat with humans and domestic animals.
Zen Mocarski, a public information officer with the Kingman regional office of the Arizona Game and Fish Department, said most snake bites happen when someone tries to grab a snake or harass it, and that many snake bites can be avoided.
People forget that if a rattler bites someone it is because they are scared.
… They use it as a defense, he said.
Rattlesnakes want to avoid humans as much as humans want to avoid the snake.
The problem is that when a human or an animal comes close to a snake, the snake has no way of knowing if it is an accidental meeting or if there is real danger.
The snake's natural reaction is to defend itself.
Venomous snakes bite hundreds of people a year in the United States, and 12 to 15 people a year die as a result of the bites.
At least a dozen people a year are treated for snakebites at Kingman Regional Medical Center.
About 20 percent of bites would be fatal if no antivenin were administered, according to the Game and Fish Department.
Bites from rattlesnakes are not uncommon, but death resulting from their bite is.
Mocarski said rattlesnakes possess the most advanced venom delivery system in the snake world.
They have folding, hollow fangs, which inject the venom deep into the victim.
One out four bite are dry bites, where no venom, or a minute amount of venom is injected.
However, one out of two bites are severe enough to require antivenin.
The western diamondback rattlesnake is responsible for most of the bites in the United States, and therefore most of the deaths.
It is the largest species of rattlesnake in Arizona and the most commonly encountered, Mocarski said.
Rattlesnake bites are typically very painful and may cause severe swelling.
Victims should be transported to a medical facility as soon as possible.
And forget about giving someone first aid.
It may only aggravate the situation, he said.
Dogs get bitten a lot more than humans and must be trained to avoid snakes.
All rattlesnakes share some common physical characteristics including a triangular shaped head, a facial pit, elliptical pupils and foldable fangs, according to information from the Arizona Poison Control System.
There are several species of venomous rattlesnakes in Mohave County, and one venomous lizard.
• Western diamondback rattlesnake – This snake, distinguished by the diamond pattern on its back, is found in rocky areas.
It is two to three feet long, although it can reach a length of six feet.
• Speckled Rattlesnake – A pinkish color, this snake is anywhere from two to three feet long, and lives in rocky desert areas.
• Sidewinders – These four-foot snakes have been seen in Golden Valley, according the Game and Fish Department.
• Black-tailed Rattlesnake – Black and yellow, this snake is found in foothill areas.
• Arizona Black Rattlesnake – All black, this snake habitats the tops of mountains.
• Coral Snake – Although the chances of getting bite by this small snake are remote because of its small mouth and fangs, this snake does carry venom.
It has been found in the Hualapai Mountains and the So Hi area of Golden Valley.
The Kingman Building Office currently has 101 sets of plans for new commercial buildings or remodeling.
"They vary from just submitted to ready for final inspection," plan reviewer Jim McErlean said.
Building official George Lutz said he sees no let-up in either commercial or residential construction in Kingman.