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Pahrump Mirror
Pahrump, Nevada
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May 1, 1997     Pahrump Mirror
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May 1, 1997
 

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Outdoors ......... t OperationGame Thief: , 1-800,992-3030 Operation Cal- Tip: 1-800-952-5400 Pahrump Valley Gazette, Thursday, May 1, 1997 23 It takes some waterfowl artists years before winning Rattlesnake Redux H RATTLESNAKES ARE HATCHED FROM EGGS! Not true. Newborn rattlers are born alive and hungry. The litter size depends on the mother's food base that year. A good year allows her to produce litters of 3 to 20 with an average of 8-10. Young are born in late summer and early fall (August through October), just in time for their winter snooze. Rattlers do not usually breed every year in the desert. It depends on the avail- ability of food, which in dry years can be sparse. A NEWBORN RATTLESNAKE IS HARMLESS! Yet an- other potentially deadly myth. Young rattlers are born fully equipped with fangs, potent venom and the instinct to strike when threatened. Rattler ba- bies are more colorful than their adult counter- parts, making them dan- gerously attractive to children. Since they do not yet have rattles (only a prebutton), they also lack the well-known warning sound. The baby rattlers are also more likely to bite since they are hungry and very alert to danger from other spo- cies that consider them prey. RATTLESNAKE MYTHS A typical southwestern rattlesnake getting ready to dispel all the myths you've heard about them! Rattlesnake venom, which is both a protein and enzyme, is of two types: neurotoxic and hemolytic. Nenrotoxic venom attacks the nervous system and immobilizes prey so it can be safely eaten. Hemolytic venom is tissue destroying and aids in digesting prey. Most rattler venom is usually a mix of both types in varying degrees, depending on the species of snake. The Mohave rattier, found in the Southern Nevada area, is unique in that its venom has a very strong neurotoxic effect, which makes it highly dangerous. The other varieties found in the Southern Nevada desert, the Sidewinder and the Speckled, have venom which is mainly hemolytic with a minor neurotoxic component. It is worthy of note that snakes have no mechanism by which to destroy mouth bacteria. Therefore, a snake bite is dangerous as a human bite from the standpoint of bacterial infection. This danger is increased because rattler venom virtually immobilizes the human immune system in the immediate area of the bite, giving any bacteria which might be introduced from the bite a superb opportunity to infect the wound. So even though an average of 40 percent of a rattler's strikes are dry (injecting no venom), you still stand the chance ofadebilitating infection from bacteria in the snakes' mouth. Another danger is the chance of an allergic reaction to a rattler's venom. If you are allergic to such things as bee stings and ant bites, the chances are good you may also be allergic to rattlesnake venom, which can result in anaphylactic shock, a condition from which death can result in a very short time. A RATI'LESNAKE GROWS A NEW RATrLE EACH YEAR! Nope. Fairy tale. Young rattlers are born with a prebutton at the end of their tails and needs to shed its skin four times before it actually becomes a rattle. Then a new segment is added to the rattle every time the snake sheds its skin, which can be as many as 3 times a year, depending on the environment and availability of food. Rattles are not a foolproof indicator of age, but an average rule of thumb is one and a half to two segments for every year of life. RATFLESNAKE VENOM CAN KILL OTHER RATI'LE- SNAKES! Seven out of seven. This myth was no doubt born by Ed Tomchin when people saw males in a combat during the mating season. The truth is rattlers are generally thought to be immune to other rattlesnake's venom, and they certainly are immune to their own venom. What is unique is that the California King snake and the red Coachwhip, both of which are notably resistant to rattlesnake venom, hunt, kill, and eat all species of rattler. When a rattler detects one of these two coming down the road, it knows danger is imminent. Rattlers, however, rarely bite each other and never eat each other. RATTLE- SNAKES ARE SAFE TO APPROACH WHEN HIBERNAT- ING OR AFTER EATING ! Sorry. Rattlers don't actually hibernate. They do something called brumation, which is not quite the same physiologically as true hibernation. Brumafion usually be- gins in November and ends by late February, depending on the se- verity of the winter. During this period, a rattler can be aroused ifdistmtxxl, and while slower than normal, will strike in self-defense. RANAKES ARE SLIMY! Nine out of nine wrong. Because a rattler's skin is very smooth, it can appear slimy, but in reality it is a very dry skin and silky to the touch. However, finding this out first hand is not recommended. RATTLESNAKES SHOULD BE KILLED ON SIGHT! Ten for ten. Never kill a rattler unless it is the only way to protect yourself or someone else. Rattlers are part of the eco-ehain and eat rodents and other destructive creatures. Most farmers con- sider them friends, albeit distant ones, and you should too. AN INTERESTING RATFLESNAKE FACTOID: After a rattler has eaten its fill, it will find a safe, comfortable refuge and rest for as long as 2 weeks before venturing forth to hunt again. However, this does not mean the resting rattler is not dangerous. Get too close and it will strike. A rattler is never totally immobilized. RATTLESNAKES CAN BE CAPTURED AND KEPT AS PETS: Don't even think about this. You need a special permit from the Nevada Division of Wildlife to capture and keep rattlers and these permits are very difficult to get. Additionally, most cities require a dangerous animal permit to keep a rattlesnake. In the rare and unlikely event that you are bitten by a rattler, it is important to be able to describe or identify what kind of rattler bit you sotheproper antivenom andtreatment can be admires" tered. So learning what they look like is time well spent. If you can't remember the snake's name, describing its markings will allow the snake tO be identified. (A future article will present current knowledge of both field and medical treanent of snake bites.) If you would like to see these beautifully dangerous creatures up close and personal (which will help you to recognize them in their natural environment), pay a visit to the Barrick Museum on the grounds of UNLV. The three rattlesnakes commonly found in the Southern Nevada area (the Mohave, Sidewinder and Southwest Speckled rattler) plus many other snakes and reptiles, ineluding the Gila Monster, are on display in the museum's lobby. Call (702)-895-3381 for visiting times andother informa- tion. Fishing Report by GeoYl" Seider Nevada Dimion of Wildlife LAKE MEAD --Striped bass fishing continues to be spotty with some anglers repotting excellent success while others are struggling to get a bite. The Nevada Division of Wildlife reports that boaters are now finding small schools of stripers at the Meat Hole, Fish Island and the Meadows in the Overton Arm. Several anglers hooked, but were unable to land, large stripers at Government Wash in the Boulder Basin. Largemouth bass fishing has been productive with the better action taking place in the Overton Arm. The fish are being tekon from blush in cove, s. LAKE MOIIAVE -Windy weather has been keeping fishing pres- sure to a minimum. However, the few anglers who have taken to the water have found fair success for small striped bass by fishing deep in the narrows above Cottonwood Cove. Largemouth bass are being urea in shallow water in coves around Cottonwood. Anglmt w.poN the fish  rductant to bite. Tront fiddng should he fair in tim Willow Beach anm hecau of lt week's phmts by the Willow Beach tlatchery. Striped hau fmhing is still slow in that part of the lake. WAYNE E. KIRCII WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT AREA -The area continues to experience fairly heavy fishing wessure on the week- ends. Most of those fishing have been rewarded with a few rainbow trout. Anglers fishing at Haymeadow Reservoir continue to enjoy the better action. Flies are taking trout for those fishing from float tubes, while shore anglers are having success with Powerbait. Recent surveys by the Division of Wildlife indicates last spring's lesgemonth bass stocking at Cold Springs Pse-rvoir was a success. appears to have been good survival of the finserling fish and they have grown to six inches. EAGLE VALLEY RESERVOIR --Fair fmhing for stocked rain- bow and brown trout is being found at the lake hecaase of recont plants by the Division of Wildlife. Campers have been experiencing pleasant daytime temperatures with cool evenings. ECHO CANYON RESERVOIR -The lake's water level is con- tinuing to drop and is now approximately 15 feet below its maximum depth. Fishing has been fair for planted rainbow trout and the action is besinning to pick up fee small larsenuth bass. SCIIROEDER RESERVOIR..Anglers .poa having fair succem for rainbow trout in the eight-inch hinge. Ronds leadiag to the state lt,k are in good condition. NDOW is ddng -,aglett to fill ont the emea cemm festm that  locled in hoxm on t ram.