Research: As temperatures rise, so do snakebite cases

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It’s been a summer of record-setting heat, and new research shows snake bites spike in hot weather.

Based pm snakebite emergency-room visits, Emory University researchers found “a significant jump in the likelihood of being bitten by a snake for ever degree that daily temperatures increase.” Even more so than other venomous creatures such as spiders, suggesting “something unique about snake behavior.”

“Snake bite is one of those potential impacts of a changing climate … we want to do a better job of being able to predict or project who may be bitten and when and where and how we can try to avoid that,” said Noah Scovronick, assistant professor at Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University.

This year, snake bites are on the rise in South Carolina, home to 38 snake species, six of which are venomous and can be deadly. The local poison control center is reporting 174 cases in 2023, far outpacing recent years.

Despite the slithering reptiles, hikes still want to explore Congaree National Park. Wildlife biologist Stephen Bennett says a little knowledge goes a long way.

“They have no interest in you whatsoever. If you don’t go up to it and threaten it, or try to bother it. It’s going to go away, it doesn’t want to have anything to do with you,” Bennett said.

When you encounter a snake, stay calm and keep your distance. And, contrary to scenes splashed across the big screen, if you are bitten by a venomous snake, do not try to slash the bite and such out the venom, and avoid applying ice.