From: Steve Cooker
Ten years ago the Winona Post published an article I wrote after an encounter with a rattlesnake. I’ve hunted and trout fished most valleys, hilltops, and backwaters around the area and never actually saw one. Coming out of a guy’s house outside the city, we saw a particularly ornery snake blocking the sidewalk. He coiled up, rattled his tail — which made no sound — then struck at the guy while he tried to chase it away. The guy told me, “We are so sick of these darn things … we find them in the garage, under our vehicles; the neighbor’s dog died from one.” (A dog can’t tell you what’s wrong unfortunately. They just lay by their dish and die.) That particular snake “accidentally” passed away after his head collided with the guy’s shovel. Rattlesnakes are protected; however, you can defend yourself if you feel threatened.
I watched a man die on a documentary. I’ve known two bite victims. Their affected limbs are never quite the same after. One eyedropper drop of venom in a quart of blood turns it to firm Jello in just a few minutes — meaning the blood in your body coagulates, preventing flow to your brain and heart, rendering you lifeless. Only two hospitals in Minnesota even have CROFAB anti venom: Mayo and the U of M. CROFAB is ungodly expensive at nearly $13,000 per vial. The average bite victim uses five vials. After your 10-day hospital stay, if you keep your limb, this can easily be $100,000! I checked my insurance policy and I am covered, as long as the bite occurs while riding a unicycle in a submarine. (Don’t you just love those insurance companies!)
People have tried to defend them to me, saying, “But, they eat mice.” I say, “Get a mousetrap, or a cat.” They’ve said, ”They’re good for the environment.” I remind them: “Hawaii has NO snakes of any kind, and their environment is the best on Earth.” Let’s face it — rattlesnakes are BAD. However, they do make some snazzy-looking belts.
I wish we could round them up and drop them off at DNR headquarters in St. Paul and let the “office staff” trip over them for a few weeks. We’ll see the ban lifted and a bounty offered for them quite soon. In the meantime, don’t stick your hand or foot anywhere you can’t see — unless you’re riding a unicycle in a submarine.