Rattlesnake (snake) bite

General or Other | Emergency Medicine | Rattlesnake (snake) bite (Disease)


Rattlesnakes are a group of venomous snakes of the genera Crotalus and Sistrurus of the subfamily Crotalinae (pit vipers). There are 32 known species of rattlesnake, with between 65-70 subspecies, all native to the Americas, ranging from southern Alberta and southern British Columbia in Canada to Central Argentina.

Causes and Risk factors

All rattlesnakes possess a set of fangs with which they inject large quantities of hemotoxic venom. The venom travels through the bloodstream, destroying tissue and causing swelling, internal bleeding, and intense pain. Some species, such as the Mojave Rattlesnake, additionally possess a neurotoxic component in their venom that causes paralysis and other nervous symptoms.

The threat of envenomation, advertised by the loud shaking of the titular noisemaker at the end of their tail, deters many predators. However, rattlesnakes fall prey to hawks, weasels, king snakes, and a variety of other species. Rattlesnakes rarely bite unless provoked or threatened; and if treated promptly, the bites are rarely fatal.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Snake bites can be deadly. Its important to react quickly to bites. If emergency medical services can be reached, request help through Emergency services. If in a remote area, getting the victim to medical care is vital. ...