Severe storms can play havoc with water sources, such as drainages, creeks or even sewer systems; sometimes driving snakes into places they are not usually found.
“Taking a few simple precautions can help diminish the chance that an unwanted encounter with a snake turns into a more disastrous problem,” said Dwayne Elmore, Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension wildlife specialist. He recommends:
- Learn to identify venomous snakes in your area, as not all snakes are venomous and most provide benefits in terms of controlling pests;
- During clean-up activities, wear heavy leather or rubber high-top boots, as well as heavy gloves, and wear pants legs outside your boots;
- Keep children away from debris;
- Use rakes, pry bars or other long-handled tools when possible;
- Avoid sudden movement when you see or hear a snake, as many snakes tend to lose interest in a stationary target;
- If the snake does not leave after a few moments, slowly back away with deliberate movements; and
- If somebody is bitten by a snake, stay calm and seek immediate medical help for the individual. Try to identify the species of snake that bit the individual so medical personnel will know how to treat the patient.
“Preparation is the best cure, as the cliché goes,” Elmore said. “One of the best things to do is to periodically review precautions with family members and friends. Given the incidence of severe weather in our state, it can make for a great neighborhood activity; a bit of useful education while promoting an enhanced sense of community, perhaps combined with outdoor grilling or a similar get-together.”
Additional information about post-tornado and -storm recommendations is available online at http://www.dasnr.okstate.edu/tornado, a service of the OSU Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources.
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