Can Snakes Bite Through Leather Boots?

germag

Gone But Not Forgotten
#3
A large crotalid, such as a rattlesnake or cottonmouth, absolutely can easily bite through canvas tennis shoes. There's a better than even chance they could bite through leather boots too, just depending on how thick the leather is where they bite. I know of at least one case that occurred in about 1979 in North Carolina of a fatal bite through a "snake-proof" boot. Granted, it was a freak set of circumstances...one fang happened to go through a hole where the boot was stitched together and the victim was allergic to the venom and died (within just a few minutes) from anaphylactic shock....but it illustrates the fact that it is possible, however remote the chances. He was doing snake programs at schools and various events and was doing a part of his program where he would swing his leg back and forth in front of a big Timber Rattlesnake and let it strike at his boot...he had been hit literally thousands of times and this one time a single fang got through a stitch hole in the leather....
 

emusmacker

Senior Member
#6
Hey germag, crotalus can possibly bite through the boots, such as ratllers, especially the diamond backs, and some timber, but the copper heads and cotton mouths are not in the crotalus genus, they are agkistrodon genus and have smaler fangs. Tennis dhoes definately but good leather boots prolly not.
 

germag

Gone But Not Forgotten
#7
Hey germag, crotalus can possibly bite through the boots, such as ratllers, especially the diamond backs, and some timber, but the copper heads and cotton mouths are not in the crotalus genus, they are agkistrodon genus and have smaler fangs. Tennis dhoes definately but good leather boots prolly not.
I did not say that copperheads and cottonmouths belong to the genus Crotalus. I said they are crotalid snakes. That is a term used by herpetologists to describe pit vipers in general. BTW...for future reference, when you are referencing latin names, here are the rules:

1. The entire trinomial or binomial should be either italicized or underlined if an italics font is not available.

2. Only the genus name should be capitalized

3. After the genus name has been mentioned once in the text, it can be abbreviated. The same applies to the species name if the name is a trinomial. So, if we are talking about Crotalus viridis nuntius for instance, the first time it's mentioned in the text it would be fully spelled out as above. The second time you could just say C. v. nuntius. Then, if you were talking about another subspecies, such as the type, you could just say C. v. viridis.

4. If you are speaking of all of the subspecies or species included in a genus, but not any one in particular, you can just say Crotalus ssp. or Crotalus sp.

If you are talking about pit vipers in general, you can just say "crotalid snakes" (no italics), which is really sort of a throwback from an earlier taxonomy and classification of the group in which they were in the family Crotalidae, subfamily Crotalinae. Now they are classified under the family Viperidae, subfamily Crotalinae. You will also sometimes seen them referred to as "Crotaline snakes". Both are accepted nomenclature.
 

germag

Gone But Not Forgotten
#9
But they are all of the subfamily Crotaline, Correct?
Yes. Subfamily Crotalinae.

For instance, the classification of the Eastern Diamondback is as follows:

Domain: Eukarya

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Subphylum: Vertebrata

Class: Reptilia

Order: Squamata

Suborder: Serpentes

Family: Viperidae

Subfamily: Crotalinae

Genus: Crotalus

Species: adamanteus
 

luv2drum

Senior Member
#10
I though most bites would be above the ankle, so tennis shoe would definitely be out. I definitely would not want to depend on just a leather boot, but the boot is definitely better than nothing.
 
#11
Snake Proof Boots

These boots are made of codura nylon. The weave of this is supposed to be too tight for the fangs to penetrate. At least this is the explanation I have been given.
 

Nicodemus

FREELANCE ADMINISTRATOR
#13
In the event of a "hot" bite, I personally would be leery of a tournaquit (sp) or cuttin` an X on the bite. We were told by a paramedic, that the best snakebit kit is your truck keys. I tend to agree.

Germag, I appreciate your expertise. Your thoughts on this?
 

germag

Gone But Not Forgotten
#14
In the event of a "hot" bite, I personally would be leery of a tournaquit (sp) or cuttin` an X on the bite. We were told by a paramedic, that the best snakebit kit is your truck keys. I tend to agree.

Germag, I appreciate your expertise. Your thoughts on this?
That is absolutely correct, Nic. What you have to keep in mind is that snake venom from the venomous snakes in the U.S. (with the exception of coral snake and Mojave rattlesnake) is highly destructive to muscle tissue, blood and blood vessels. When you use a tourniquet or cryotherapy (ice) to try to keep it contained, what you really end up doing is causing massive destruction in that area. You are much, much better off allowing it to dissipate over a larger area so it is less destructive (more tissue mass to absorb it). The amputation rate for envenomations where a tourniquet or cryo was used is very high because the local tissue destruction is so severe. Plus there is the possibility of a "shotgun effect" when the tourniquet is released where the venom is sort of staged up in the circulatory system of the affected extremety and when the tourniquet is removed, the venom is all released into the body at once.

As far as cutting and sucking, forget it. If you can get your kit out and cut and suck within the first 10 seconds or so, you might get 10% of the venom out that way. After about 10 seconds the venom is completely absorbed into the tissue anyway. Those Cutter Snake Bite kits are essentially worthless and actually can do more damage than good. The chances of cutting nerves or large veins is too great, plus you are opening yourself up to the risk of a serious infection. The risks far outweigh any possible benefit.

Trying any of these "time honored first-aid" measures is counter-productive and wastes valuable time. The only truly effective treatment for snake envenomation is antivenin therapy.

If you can get to a hospital within about 2 hours, your best bet is to do nothing at all except get in your vehicle and go to the hospital....IF someone else can drive you. It is very dangerous to try to drive yourself to the hospital after a serious snake bite....you can lose consciousness without warning. That has to be an absolute last resort. If you have to drive yourself, go to the first place where you can find help and have someone call an ambulance for you. If you can't get to a hospital within 2 hours, you'd best call rescue and have paramedics transport you so they can try to control any effects of the venom enroute.

Your best bet is to leave the doggone snakes alone in the first place.
 
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#15
snakes

I`ve bought Browning,Lacrosse,and Rockies.All were said to be snakeproof and waterproof.None of`em were waterproof.Why should I think that they would be snakeproof?I still wear`em,though.
 
#17
help

Germag,
I do understand time is important, but, do most (all) hospitals have the anti-venon ? what if I got bit, got to a hospital quick, and they have nothing on hand to treat me with???
Sorry to hijack the thread/original question.

Jr. B
 

germag

Gone But Not Forgotten
#18
Germag,
I do understand time is important, but, do most (all) hospitals have the anti-venon ? what if I got bit, got to a hospital quick, and they have nothing on hand to treat me with???
Sorry to hijack the thread/original question.

Jr. B
Most of the hospitals that have an ER do stock some antivenin for native species, as well as AV for Black Widow bites. There are basically two different types of AV that cover all native U.S. species, except one. One is called CroFab (Protherics). It is a polyvalent Ovine serum AV that covers all of the crotalid snakes (pit vipers), such as rattlesnakes, cottonmouths, etc. The other is called Micrurus fulvius Antivenin (Wyeth) and it is an Equine serum AV that covers the Eastern Coral Snake and the Texas Coral Snake. There is a third variety of Coral Snake, the Western Coral Snake found in the S.W. United States for which no AV exists. That species has not been associated with any human deaths, although the toxicity of this species venom is very high and it is fully capable of killing a human. People in Georgia that keep exotic species of venomous snakes in captivity would do well to keep their own AV in stock....hospitals are not going to stock for exotics. For native species, they may not have enough AV on hand to treat a very severe envenomation, but they will usually have at least a half dozen ampules on hand. Even for a severe envenomation that's enough to start therapy while they transfer more from another facility. The average envenomation requires 6 ampules, but I've seen some that required as many as 16 ampules before the effects of the venom came under control. Dr. Sean Bush in Loma Linda, California treated a bite a couple of years ago that required 24 ampules IIRC....that's the worst I've ever heard of.

Florida has a service based in Miami called Venom One. They stock AV for just about every species of venomous snake in the world and do transfers everywhere.
 
#20
Germag, you said that tourniquets shouldn't be used for crotalid bites because of the hemotoxic nature of their venom, which is no doubt true, but what have you read about using tourniquets for a coral snake bite? It seems that you'd want to prevent the spread of the venom to lessen its effects on your neurological and respiratory systems. Granted, there is a (somewhat) lesser chance of being envenomated by a coral bite than a crotalid, but you don't know to what degree you've been envenomated in the time frame that applying a tourniquet might be beneficial.

Also, you mentioned Wyeth above, but from what I've read, Wyeth is no longer being produced and there is currently (or very soon will be) no AV available for Micrurus bites in the US. Any thoughts?
 
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