Posted: Aug 16, 2013 10:09 PM by Erin Steuber
Updated: Aug 16, 2013 10:55 PM
A warning from Crowley police about a snake, that can possibly kill you. Officers report seeing more coral snakes than usual. Within the last week alone, five separate sightings in Crowley.
Further west, a teenager in Sulpher was bitten by a coral snake. He was taken to Shreveport for the anti-venom, which saved his life. But with the increase in sightings, you might be surprised to hear about the availability of the anti-venom.
A milk snake may look like a coral snake, but the milk snake is harmless. The big difference is in the color. There is even a poem: Red on black, a friend to Jack. Red on yellow, he will kill a fellow.
"Those are the coral snakes, highly venomous, and they're very agressive," said Lauren Finnerty with the Zoo of Acadiana. "Milk snakes are docile and have no trouble being handled.
Both types of snakes are native to Louisiana but it is extremely rare to see a coral snake. They tend to stay in heavily wooded areas or tall grass where they can easily hide.
"Usually the snakes are going to try and avoid you, but if they feel threatened they will agressively strike towards you," said Finnerty.
A snake can strike in less than a second. So the best thing to do is back away slowly and avoid the snake all together.
"Coral snakes, we don't see many of them around here. There's only been 10 to 15 reported bites in the country and the medicine itself, the anti-venom, costs so much to reproduce that Pfizer just stopped producing it," said Dr. Douglas Clement with Our Lady of Lourdes.
According to the Louisiana Poison Center, there are only 4 to 5 viles of the anti-venom left in the state, all are in Shreveport.
"It's very concerning because coral snakes are a different type of venom all together. It's a neurotoxin. It effects the respiratory muscles, the diaphragm. What happens usually when you're envenomated they get paralysis of the diaphragm and stop breathing," said Clement.
And always if you get bitten, get to the hospital as soon as possible.