Pygmy Rattlesnakes and Other Critters: What Veterinarians Want Y - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Pygmy Rattlesnakes and Other Critters: What Veterinarians Want You to Know

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Broken Arrow -

With the summer heat come snake bites, according to area veterinarians.

A dog owner spotted a Pygmy Rattlesnake off Aspen in Broken Arrow. Dr. Shad Wilkerson said these critters are more common in the area than people think.

"It's the smallest species that we have in Oklahoma. It's one of the most dangerous. Because it's so small, the venom's really toxic," Wilkerson said. He explained that their rattles are only a few millimeters long, so they are very difficult to hear.

"It really doesn't make noise, and so you don't know it until you're on top of them," Wilkerson said.

Wilkerson said Oklahoma Veterinary Specialists have been treating many dogs this summer for snake bites. One Dachshund was at the clinic Wednesday getting treatment for a bite, likely from a Copperhead.

Wilkerson explained that snakes are often found on rocky areas or in wooded areas. They try to avoid the heat, like people do. He said pet owners that walk their dogs in cooler morning or evening temperatures are more likely to come across the critters. He said if you spot one, the best thing to do is stay away from it.

"The snakes aren't going to chase you or the dog. They're just scared, so they're going to coil up. They're going to try to defend themselves," Wilkerson said.

Wilkerson said if your dog suffers a snake bite, try to snap a picture of the snake in question to help veterinarians understand the threat. Next, he said it is best to contact your veterinarian immediately, not to try to suck the venom out.

Channel 8 spoke with a pet owner walking his dogs close to the noon hour. He said he often sees snake holes in the area where they walk.

"I do at the heat of the day. Snakes don't like the heat of the day. So, I walk them when it's sunny out," Philip Patterson said.

Wilkerson said some snakes can be good for yards, because they keep rodents away. However, if you spot a snake that is a concern, you may call Terry Rodgers, a Nuisance Wildlife Control Operator, at 918-230-1671, A All Animal Control of Tulsa at 918-481-7041, or other animal removal businesses.

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