You're More Likely to Have a Deadly Encounter with This Animal Now

Enjoy the outdoors, but exercise caution: these animals are more deadly than usual.

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These days, many of us are venturing out into the great outdoors to avoid the crowds and stop the spread of coronavirus. And while the fresh air is, well, a breath of fresh air, it turns out there's a downside to all that nature. Experts say that deadly snake bites are on the rise, now that we spend more time blazing hiking trails than sitting in bars—and the numbers are getting worse as the summer wears on.

Raymond Hoser, an Australia-based snake expert recently told the Australian Associated Press (AAP) that numbers of poisonous snake sightings in his area have spiked as the weather has warmed. He attributes this to the "perfect storm" of snakes coming out of hibernation right as many people are venturing outdoors more frequently. Hoser shared that he anticipates between 20 and 30 snake related callouts per day through October based on the numbers he's currently seeing.

In the U.S, experts are reporting a similar phenomenon. Snake bites have been on the rise in the Southeast, Southwest, and Texas in particular, due to climate factors. Arizona, Nevada, Texas, California, and the Carolinas have reportedly confirmed an increase in snake bites since the pandemic began. According to the Texas Poison Center Network, that state alone has seen a 54 percent uptick in snake-related calls for 2020, compared to last year.

That's not to say that snake bites weren't already a problem before the pandemic took hold. As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) points out, there are typically between 7,000 and 8,000 poisonous snake bites each year, and after mosquitos, snakes are considered the most lethal animals known to man. In the U.S, out of all of those bitten, an average of five people die per year—but perhaps more dauntingly, between 10 and 45 percent of those bitten suffer permanent injury.

So, as you head out to the woods or take a hike on your favorite trail, be prepared for the possibility of seeing a snake. Wear the proper gear, stick to cleared paths, use the buddy system, and most importantly, leave any snakes you may see alone.  And for more animal encounters, check out the 30 Most Deadly Animals on Earth.

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