Beware of Hidden Dangers Painful Realities in Sharing Our Environment Created by Jim Neaves, J/R/Neaves Consulting
Deadly Snakes Deadly Spiders Scorpions Flying Insects Fire Ants Mosquitoes/West Nile Virus Ask yourself: What do these creatures have to do with mining?
Has anyone here seen these in the wild? Deadly Snakes Deadly Spiders Scorpions Flying Insects Fire Ants Mosquitoes/West Nile Virus
Why do we care about encountering these critters? These snakes, spiders, scorpions, flying insects, fire ants and mosquitoes can cause serious injury, illness and, in some cases, death. As a miner you will share territory with them. It is important to avoid contact with them.
Upon completion of this training the student will be able to identify six species of common dangerous wildlife hazards , and characteristics of each of each, that are encountered while surface mining in Central Texas, by scoring 80% on the quiz at the end of the presentation. Objective:
Deadly Snakes Western Diamondback Rattlesnake Copperheads Coral Snakes Cotton Mouth Water Moccasin
Deadly Snakes Western Diamondback Rattlesnake <ul><li>its relatively large size (giving a greater striking distance – one-third to one-half of their body length) </li></ul><ul><li>the deep puncture wounds it can inflict </li></ul><ul><li>the large amounts of venom it can inject </li></ul>The Western Diamondback is of concern because: In a mine, these snakes can be found practically everywhere . Electricians find them under breakers, feeders and junction boxes . They will also snuggle up next to a trail cable at night for warmth.
Deadly Snakes Copperheads <ul><li>They account for more cases of venomous snake bite than any other species. </li></ul><ul><li>Their venom is the least toxic. </li></ul><ul><li>Bites from Copperheads are seldom fatal. </li></ul><ul><li>A bite may still produce serious consequences. </li></ul>Copperheads are venomous, pit vipers. Copperheads can be found in most habitats , although they prefer to be near streams and other water ways . An agitated Copperhead will vibrate its tail rapidly . Unless a person steps on them, grasps them , or otherwise comes very, very close to them , Copperheads will usually not bite .
Deadly Snakes Coral Snakes <ul><li>It is classed with several old world species like the neurotoxic cobras, kraits and mambas. </li></ul><ul><li>This snake has a multitude of natural mimics which try to pose as the dangerous coral. </li></ul><ul><li>It is especially dangerous to children because of its bright colors. </li></ul>The Coral Snake is likely the most gaudy of North American venomous snakes. When disturbed the coral snake often lays its head out of sight and rattles its flattened elevated tail and emits a popping sound with its vented lining.
Deadly Snakes Cottonmouth Water Moccasin <ul><li>It is a pit viper in the same general family as the Copperhead and the Rattler. </li></ul><ul><li>This dangerous semi-aquatic snake is truly an aggressive reptile that will stand its ground or even approach an intruder. </li></ul><ul><li>Its average length is 30 inches but can get to over 54 inches. </li></ul>The Cottonmouth Water Moccasin is the only poisonous water snake in North America. The Cottonmouth tends to exhibit behavioral characteristics of territorial animals by defending and guarding a specific area, thus appearing to be more aggressive than other snakes . They favor lying dormant on logs, rocks or limbs at water’s edge awaiting the telltale movement of approaching prey.
Deadly Snakes General Snake Information Head Shape Rattlesnake Rattles When a rattlesnake is born it has a small rounded tip on its tail. Each time the snake sheds its skin it will gain a new rattle segment.
Deadly Snakes General Snake Information Pit Viper Fangs Strike Distance (1/3 to 1/2 of body length) When not in use a pit viper’s fangs lie folded back against the roof of the snake’s mouth. When the moment of strike arrives the fangs rotate forward.
Deadly Snakes Snake Bites Many bites are the result of someone trying to capture, kill, or handle the snake. A number of bites occur to snake handlers, both private and professional. Most bites occur when someone steps on the snake and it bites in its own defense. Death occurs in less than 1% of snake bites , about 10 to 15 a year. Bites from venomous snakes in the United States are rare, however 8,000 such bites do occur each year. One third of rattlesnake bites are “dry” bites, in which no venom is injected.
Deadly Snakes First Aid Below is a list of do’s and don’ts when dealing with snakebite first aid. <ul><li>Remain Calm and inactive. </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t make incisions over the snakebite. </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t constrict the flow of blood. </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t immerse a limb in ice or use an ice compress. Concerns regarding adverse affects of ice treatment (frost bite, etc) are of concern. </li></ul><ul><li>Use suction device or mouth to extract some venom. </li></ul><ul><li>Have another individual drive you to medical care for treatment. </li></ul><ul><li>As a preventative measure, locate a physician with snakebite treatment before hand, just in case. </li></ul>Very few snakebite kits on the market offer much in the way of first aid.
Dangerous Spiders Black Widow Black widow spiders are shy and prefer secluded locations such as crawl spaces, attics, garages, and sheds where they construct a tangled, crisscross web. Common web locations are in stacked boards, firewood piles, in rubble, around water meters, under stones or protected sites. Their bites are often immediately painful. The most reliable evidence of a bite is two tiny red puncture marks around which the pain intensifies during the first three hours. The pain will continue for 12 – 48 hours and then gradually subside. Black widow venom contains a neurotoxin that can cause headache, dizziness, shortness of breath, and often painful abdominal spasms and back pain. Rigidity of limbs, increased blood pressure, and profuse sweating are other symptoms. Death seldom occurs in healthy adults. However, in children and adults in poor health may die within 12 – 32 hours from asphyxia.
Dangerous Spiders Brown Recluse The Brown Recluse spider is common outdoors and indoors in the southern and central United States. It is nicknamed the fiddleback or violin spider because of the distinctive dark violin-shaped marking on top of the front body. Their bites, unlike the black widow, are usually painless. However, localized burning sensation often develops within the first hour and during the next 6 – 12 hours, a small pimple or blister forms. The venom can cause extensive tissue damage (necrotic reaction) and over the next 10 – 14 days, a sunken, open, ulcerated sore up to 1 – 2 inches in diameter. It usually takes 6 -8 weeks for the bite to heal. They usually have six eyes instead of the usual eight. (Who gets that close?) In rare cases systemic complications such as liver or kidney damage results.
Scorpions Scorpions Scorpions are venomous arthropods and are considered relatives of spiders, mites, and ticks. There are 1,300 species of scorpions worldwide. Scorpions have even been found under snow covered rocks at elevations of over 12,000 feet in the Andes and Himalayas. Scorpions are nocturnal, predatory animals that feed on a variety of insects, spiders, centipedes and other scorpions. The venom of scorpions is used for both prey capture and defense. The venoms are complex mixtures of neurotoxins and other substances unique to the specie. The sting of a Texas scorpion is painful but seldom fatal. Scorpions are commonly thought of as desert animals, but in fact, they occur in many other habitats as well, including grasslands and savannas, deciduous forests, Montana pine forests, rain forests and caves.
Flying Insects Hornets and Wasps Hornets are the largest of the wasp family and are usually quite fat and round, unlike the yellow jacket. They have a fearsome reputation for stinging and causing considerable harm but in fact are not more dangerous than a regular wasp or bee. Like most bees and wasps they usually only sting if you are blocking a flight path or are moving rapidly. AVOID NESTS AT ALL COST! The best way to distinguish a hornet from stinging insects is simply the fact that they are shorter and fatter, more “squat” but quite often can be large as well as squat. Wasps are the least-loved stingers of the insect world – they don’t have an upside like bees which make honey.
Flying Insects Bees There are about 20,000 species of bees worldwide and found throughout the world except at the highest altitudes, in polar regions, and on some small oceanic islands. If you are stung by a bee it is likely either a: <ul><li>European Honey Bee, </li></ul>The European Honey Bee is important in modern agriculture and in nature, providing pollination for many valuable crops and wild plants. (They work at the mine in reclamation!) The Bumble Bee is the common name for any of a large, hairy, usually black and yellow, social bees. They are similar to their close relatives the honey bees. <ul><li>Bumble Bee, </li></ul><ul><li>Africanized Honey Bee </li></ul>The Africanized Honey Bee is a variety of honey bee that is highly defensive and will attack perceived intruders more readily than the common European Honey Bee.
Fire Ants Fire Ants The colonies are characterized by the mounds of soil generated above ground – a result of a network of tunnels under ground which are used for hunting. Fire Ants are very aggressive and will readily attack anything that disturbs their mound. When they attack they swarm on their target. When they bite, they firmly grasp the skin with its jaws arch their backs and insert the rear-end stinger into the flesh injecting venom from the poison sac. Fire ant venom is unique because of the high concentration of toxins, which are responsible for the burning pain characteristic of fire ant sting. People are not just allergic to fire ant stings but also anaphylactic. Due to the obvious difficulties in collecting venom from fire ants (due to their size) venom, effective immunotherapy is not available. The safest thing is to avoid them.
West Nile Virus West Nile Virus WNV is transmitted to humans through mosquito bites . Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on birds that have high levels of WNV in their blood. WNV is not transmitted from person to person and there is no evidence a person can get infected by handling live or dead infected birds . Most WNV infected humans have no symptoms . A small portion of humans develop mild symptoms that include fever, headache, body aches, skin rash and swollen lymph glands . Less than 1% of infected people develop more severe illness that includes meningitis or encephalitis.
Critters that can get you. Summary As you can see from the material we have reviewed, there are serious dangers out there were you work that are not related to the job you are performing. Some simple steps can be taken to reduce the risk of encountering these dangers: <ul><li>Watch where you step . </li></ul><ul><li>Do not disturb a wasp or hornet nest. </li></ul><ul><li>Avoid fire ant mounds. </li></ul><ul><li>Be careful where you place your hands. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Poisonous spiders like secluded dark areas such a electrical panels, corners in the warehouse, wood piles and so forth . </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Scorpions , like spiders, can be found in wood piles, under boards on the ground, old tires , etc. </li></ul></ul>Use common sense out there!
Write this down: Central Texas Poison Center Scott and White Memorial Hospital 2401 South 31st Street Temple, TX 76508 Emergency Phone: (800) POISON-1(TX only); (254) 724-7401-
Quiz: Circle the six commonly found dangerous wildlife species commonly found in a Central Texas surface mine. Deadly Snakes Deadly Spiders Scorpions Bees Fire Ants Houston Toad Texas Python Mosquitoes Armadillos Sugar Ants Horned Toad Dung Beetle
Quiz: Most rattlesnake bites occur when someone steps on the snake and it bites in its own defense. Death occurs in less than 1% of snake bites, about 10 to 15 a year. West Nile Virus is easily transmitted from person to person. True False True False There is no evidence a person can get infected with Wet Nile Virus by handling live or dead infected birds. West Nile Virus is transmitted to humans through mosquito bites. True False True False True False
Quiz: The Cottonmouth tends to exhibit behavioral characteristics of territorial animals. Humans are not just allergic to fire ant stings but also anaphylactic. Due to the ease in collecting venom from fire ants venom, effective immunotherapy is readily available. Cottonmouths favor lying dormant on logs, rocks or limbs at water’s edge. There is no evidence a person can get infected with Wet Nile Virus by handling live or dead infected birds. True False True False True False True False True False
Quiz: The western Diamondback is relatively large in size. The striking distance of a Coral Snake is one-third to one-half of its body length. Copperheads account for more cases of venomous snake bite than any other species. Scorpions have never been found under snow. They die in the cold. There are 20,000 species of bees world wide but if stung it is likely only the honey bee. True False True False True False True False True False
Quiz: The Diamond Back Rattlesnake is the most aggressive of the vipers. The Africanized Honey Bee is a variety of honey bee that is highly defensive and will attack perceived intruders. Black widow spiders are shy and prefer secluded places. The Brown Recluse spider is common outdoors and indoors in the southern and central United States. Fire Ants are very passive and will not readily attack anything that disturbs their mound. True False True False True False True False True False
In conclusion, we care about encountering these critters in the field because: The snakes, spiders, scorpions, flying insects, fire ants and mosquitoes can cause serious injury, illness and, in some cases, death . As a miner you will share territory with them. It is important to avoid contact with them because their stings and bites are very painful and they normally win in any contest. STAY AWAY FROM THEM!