Rattlesnakes are one of many venomous snakes in the world. A fellow Texan and literary friend of mine, Tandy Versyp, was bitten on the ankle by this particular poisonous snake in Hawley, Texas, while smoking a cigarette at night. “When I got inside I could see puncture wounds and a little blood. A little over an hour had passed before I got to the emergency room. My foot was discolored, swollen and in a lot of pain. They gave me anti venom and plasma ... and later steroids.” Tandy spent two weeks alone in hospital recovering from the bite: Rattlesnake venom thins the blood and the slightest injury can mean trouble.
Foreknowledge, common sense and awareness are the keys to preventing an animal attack. When it comes to wild animals, particularly the top predators, the best method of choice is to steer clear. Here’s a simple list of the critters you’re most likely to get bitten by—and what to do when the worst happens.
For the most part, raccoons (native to North America but also found in mainland Europe and Japan) are harmless, sneaky, sometimes pesky and noisy, nocturnal creatures. They are usually passive in nature when in the presence of humans. But, if there is food, trash or small unattended animals lingering around, raccoons are likely to intrude.
They do not eat humans, but that does not mean raccoons won’t bite or attack you, provoked or unprovoked. Small pets and children can be severely harmed by a raccoon, if not killed. Usually, a raccoon attack consists of scratch marks, cuts or small puncture marks. In a worst-case scenario, they may rigorously claw and tear at your skin.
If a raccoon attacks you or your pet, you must seek immediate medical attention, as raccoons are notorious for harboring the rabies virus. Victims of a raccoon bite almost always need medical treatment.
BBC News wrote an article in October 2008 stating: “Exotic species of spiders are making their homes in the UK. ... Researchers believe arachnids arriving in imports of food and plants are now able to survive and spread thanks to the UK’s increasingly mild climate. The new inhabitants include a species of false widow spider and some believe the deadly black widow could be next to invade.”
Read up on spiders as you move to different geographical destinations. If you are bitten by a spider and you notice inflammation, red welts, scabbing, a violent rash or experience intense itching, burning or bleeding that does not desist after a couple of hours, seek medical attention. Some people have extreme allergic reactions to spiders (black widow, garden spider or brown recluse) and need medical aid, whereas others can heal their bites with over-the-counter medicine.
WOLVES, FOXES & WILD DOGS
Healthy, well-fed wolves, dogs and foxes that live in the wild rarely attack humans. Generally these mammals will run away at the sight of you. Typically the only time of true danger is when they are traveling in packs: power in numbers. But wolves are not the animals you should fear the most.