|Click image to enlarge
Western diamondback rattlesnake. Photo credit: Shutterstock
A 16-year-old California girl who was searching for a cell phone signal on a hilltop in Jamul, CA was bit six times after she stepped into a pit of rattlesnakes. Vera Oliphant was visiting her uncle in the town east of San Diego on October 27 when she was bit, according to the San Diego Union Tribune
. She returned down the hill and told her uncle, who transported her to the nearest hospital where she received antivenom for the bites. CBS8.com reported that Oliphant received 24 doses of antivenom and was admitted to Sharp Grossmont Hospital's intensive care unit for four days.
California has an average of 800 snake bites each year, representing 10 percent of the total number nationwide, according to the California Department of Fish and Game, with about 25 percent of the bites, dry bites with no venom injected. These bites usually occur between April and October. A report of California rattlesnake venom published in June stated that the venom of the resident population of rattlesnakes is becoming increasingly more potent. No studies have determined the change in potency.
California has seven different species of rattlesnakes, and three subspecies. These include the western diamondback (Crotalus atrox), sidewinder (Crotalus cerastes), Mohave desert sidewinder (Crotalus cerastes cerastes), Colorado desert sidewinder (Crotalus cerastes laterorepens), southwest speckled rattlesnake (Crotalus mitchellii pyrrhus), western rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus), southern pacific rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus helleri), great basin rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus lutosus) , northern pacific rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus oreganus), red diamond rattlesnake (Crotalus ruber), northern Mohave rattlesnake (Crotalus scutulatus scutulatus), and the panamint rattlesnake (Crotalus stephensi).