Rattlesnake bites

Each year, 4,000 to 6,000 venomous snakebites occur in the US. About 70% of these require antivenom therapy1. As shown on the front page of this website (graph below) a lot of these venomous snakebites are from rattlesnakes.

Bites and fatalities from 1983 to 2007 - in relation to total number of envenomations

The data presented in the graph are from Walther et al. (2009)2. Compared to the total number of envenemations, it can be concluded that about one in five venomous snakebites in the US are from rattlesnakes.

The severity of venomous snakebite effects are clearly correlated with the conditions of the victims. According to a study by Seifert et al. (2009)3 the most severe outcomes are seen in children younger than 6 years of age.

The distribution of fatalities is also skewed. ”There are, of course, more venomous snakebites in states like Texas and California, showing that people in Southern states are more likely to become exposed to snakes than those living in the North.

A study by Sotelo (2008)4 listed the sign and symptoms of rattlesnake bites in a group of children. The data from that study are presented here.

Sign and symptoms of rattlesnake bites Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake ready to strike


1. Weinstein, S.A., Dart, R.C., Staples, A., White, J. Envenomations: An Overview of Clinical Toxicology for the Primary Care Physician America Family Physician 80(8) pp. 793-802 (2009)
2. Walter, F.G. Stolz, U. Shirazi, F. & Mcnally, J. Epidemiology of severe and fatal rattlesnake bites published in the American Association of Poison Control Centers Annual Reports Clinical Toxicology 47(7) pp 663-669 (2009)
3. Seifert S.A., Boyer, L.V., Benson, B.E., Rogers, J.J. AAPCC database characterization of native US venomous snake exposures, 2001-2005 Clinical Toxicology 47(4) pp 327-335 (2009)
4. Sotelo, N. Review of treatment and complications in 79 children with rattlesnake bite Clinical Pediatrics 47(5) pp 483-489 (2008)

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