Poisonous Snakes

Most snakes are harmless and play an important role in controlling rodents.

But some snakes are poisonous. Poisonous snakes in Kansas and Missouri are from the family of snakes called pit vipers. Pit vipers include rattlesnakes, copperheads and cottonmouths (water moccasins). When pit vipers bite, they deliver venom through 2 fangs.

Because it can be difficult to determine whether a snake is poisonous, anyone bitten by a snake should immediately go to the nearest hospital.

24-hour Poison Control Center hotline: 1-800-222-1222

Prevent snake bites

To keep your family safe, follow these simple guidelines:

  • Leave snakes alone. If you see a snake, walk away from it.
  • Be careful when picking up rocks and firewood.
  • Keep your lawn mowed and clear of piles of boards, rocks and trash.
  • Wear long pants and heavy boots when hiking through tall grass.
  • Install tight-fitting screens on windows and doors.
  • Seal household cracks and crevices.

What to do for snake bites

If someone you know gets bitten by a snake, immediately take them to the nearest hospital. Do not put ice on the bite. Do not use a tourniquet or try to make any type of cut around the bite.

If you have questions, call The University of Kansas Hospital Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222.

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