You can find snakes on almost every continent in the world. As a result, human beings are bound to cross paths with a snake or two. Most of the time, nothing comes from these interactions. Yet occasionally, you might stumble across a venomous snake at the wrong time. The resulting bites can be deadly.
There have been 107 such bites in the U.S., most occurring in July as cold-blooded reptiles become more active in the warmer weather. Decreasing the odds of survival is the cost of treatment. Anti-venom costs around $2,500 per vial. One victim received eight vials of antivenom, yet still died. Even if you survive your first bite, your chances of doing so a second time decrease dramatically.
Of these deadly snake bites, one species has been the source of more bites than any other, including many of the youngest victims, which you can explore on the map below.
View Fatal Snake Bites in the U.S. in a full screen map
Of the 107 fatal U.S. snake bites on the map, Rattlesnake bites account for nearly 80% of deaths, with Copperheads and Cobras as the next most. Let’s slither into the subspecies statistics of these deadly Rattlesnake bites:
- Rattlesnake (no subspecies noted) – 53 fatal bites
- Timber Rattlesnake – 16
- Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake – 7
- Western Diamondback Rattlesnake – 3
- Southern Pacific Rattlesnake – 2
- Prairie Rattlesnake – 2
- Mojave Rattlesnake – 2
Unspecified Rattlesnake bites aside, the subspecies with the most death toll is the Timber Rattlesnake. Sixteen people in the U.S. have been bitten and subsequently died from these bites. Most took place in either Georgia (4) or West Virginia (3), seeing as Timber Rattlesnakes mostly reside in the Eastern U.S.
Several Timber Rattlesnake victims were bitten during church service, during “snake handling,” when snakes are voluntarily passed around among the congregants. Though laws exist to prevent this religious rite, one man was bitten as recently as 2015 during a religious service at a Pentecostal Church in Jenson, Kentucky. He refused treatment and died in his brother’s home. Three others also died under similar circumstances, all at the hands—or fangs—of the Timber Rattlesnake.
Additionally, there are seven deathly Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake bites, along with Western Diamondback Rattlesnake (3), Southern Pacific, Prairie, and Mojave Rattlesnake (2 each). For more on the other common though not as prevalent snake bites, check out the map. Otherwise, we’re moving on to the youngest victims, of which all but one were bitten by Rattlesnakes.
Snakes don’t have eyelids, so they needn’t blink. Even with this never-ending gaze, they can’t discern a victim’s age. Those bitten and killed by snakes in the U.S. range from just a year old to 80. Let’s take a closer look at the youngest victims on the table below.
|Donald Bebis||1||male||Rattlesnake||MT||1965||15-month-old Don Bebis was playing in the yard at his home in Cat Creek, Montana, when he was bitten on both legs on August 4, 1965.|
|Karen Perry||1||female||Rattlesnake||CA||1953||15-month-old Perry was playing in the backyard of her home in Tujunga, California, when she was bitten on the hand by a “pencil thin,” 18-inch long rattlesnake.|
|Peyton Hood||1||female||Western Diamondback Rattlesnake||TX||2010||Accidentally stepped on baby Western Diamondback while climbing down ladder at Possum Kingdom Lake, Texas. The snake struck her main artery. She was rushed to the hospital, but died within a few hours.|
|Derek Lema||2||male||Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake||FL||2000||Lema was bitten in the thigh by a rattlesnake while helping his father, Victor Lema, in their Lakewood Ranch, Florida, backyard.|
|Frank Benham||2||male||Prairie Rattlesnake||CO||1903||Benham died from a rattlesnake bite in Adams County, Colorado, 17 miles north of Deer Trail.|
|James Ananias Brannon||2||male||Rattlesnake||TX||1882||Brannon died from a rattlesnake bite received while lying on a blanket in Texas.|
|John Charles Goss||2||male||Rattlesnake||PA||1941||Bitten beneath the right knee while at a picnic near the city reservoir alongside the Willow Creek Highway in Bradford, Pennsylvania.|
|Reba Ann Cooper||2||female||Rattlesnake||TX||1940||The daughter of a rancher, Cooper was bitten by a rattlesnake on a ranch near Rocksprings, Texas.|
|Gregory Lee Hall||3||male||Copperhead||AL||1976||Bitten on the right hand by a copperhead he picked while playing near his home in Jacksonville, Alabama, on May 31, 1976.|
|Brayden Bullard||4||male||Timber Rattlesnake||FL||2014||Bitten while planting watermelons in his backyard in Bryceville, Florida. He was rushed to the hospital, but died 2 weeks later.|
|Helen Moomey||4||female||Rattlesnake||ND||1915||Moomey died from a rattlesnake bite she received while playing with friends near her house in Billings County, North Dakota. The prairie rattlesnake is the only venomous snake in North Dakota.|
Of the young victims, all but one were bit by Rattlesnakes. Three-year-old Gregory Lee Hall passed away from a Copperhead snake bite in Alabama. However, most of these tragic occurrences took place in Texas and Florida. Three children died from a Rattlesnake bite in the Lone Star State, while three passed away from snakes in Florida.
As for the oldest victim, an 80-year-old man was killed in Armuchee, Georgia, when he ironically tried to avoid killing a Timber Rattlesnake he found in his garage. As he tried to move the snake with a broom, he fell on top of it. The resulting bite killed him after 30 hours and eight antivenom vials.
You can see the other oldest victims on the map when you group by “Age” and opt for the 80 – 64 range. Speaking of Texas, Florida, and Georgia, let’s move on to location—not just of the youngest or oldest victims—but every snake bite fatality on the map.
Luckily for some (and not so much for others), venomous snakes aren’t found everywhere in the U.S. The majority of fatal snake bites occur in Texas, West Virginia, along with other southern states. However, Floridians deal with the most deadly bites. In total, 13 have been killed by snakes in the Sunshine State, including 11 Rattlesnakes, one coral snake, and one unknown.
Never too far behind Florida is, of course, Texas with 10 Rattlesnake bites and one cobra bite that ended in death. Joining Florida in the Southeast are West Virginia, Kentucky, Georgia, and Alabama with seven fatal bites each. These states all have warm weather in common, which is when snakes become more active.
Similar insights often become apparent when you map your data—and especially when you enable Heat View, a feature BatchGeo Pro users have in common with some snakes.
Or make a Heat View map of your own at batchgeo.com.