Snake bites on the rise after monsoon storms

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By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

PHOENIX -- When the monsoon arrives in the Valley, lightning isn't the only thing that strikes.

"A rattlesnake can strike very, very fast. Actually, it can strike and recoil faster than the brain can send a message to your hand to move," said Nate Deason, snake curator with the Phoenix Herpetological Society.

Deason said the snakes are going after the rainwater, and more people are reporting bites.

"We're now starting to climb up toward our maximum, which usually occurs sometime in August through October," said Dr. Steven Curry, a toxicology specialist with Banner Health.

Six bites have been reported so far this month. Some years, more than 20 bites are reported in August and September.

"There's certainly several Saturdays where I've admitted as many as five on a single day," Curry said.

Deason said most bites happen because people either don't see the snake or they underestimate it.

"If we're watching where we're stepping, where we're putting our hands, where we're putting our feet, we usually don't have anything to worry about," he said.