A pregnant California woman used her mouth to suck out the venom from her 4-year-old son's foot after he was bitten by a rattlesnake. Experts caution that this is the wrong way to deal with poisonous snake bites.
According to Rina Nakano of Fox 40, Jaclyn Caramazza of Folsom, who is nine months pregnant, attempted to suck the venom out of her son's foot. The boy, Vinny Caramazza, was bitten by a rattlesnake as the family walked along a bike trail.
"We went to Mercy Folsom, which is about a five minute drive, and made it in three," Caramazza said.
Nakano reported that Vinny was bitten by a baby rattlesnake after he was startled by it; he initially thought it was "dog poop." However, the mysterious brown object later coiled up on him.
"I'm looking around, and took his shoes off, and lo-and-behold, there were two little puncture marks," Caramazza said.
According to Nakano, Caramazza's survival mode went into effect. That's because Vinny's ankle started swelling and turning purple, with the venom spreading to his entire leg; however, he is now recovering well.
"Mama bear instinct in me decided to suck the venom because that's what Bonanza does," Caramazza said.
However, wildlife officials cautioned that what Caramazza did was a definite "no-no."
"Misconception is lacerate between the two points and suck the venom out," Chris Stoots of California Fish and Wildlife said. "Absolutely don't do that. Use your basic wound type stuff, soap and water, wash the area, keep it clean and call 911 immediately."
Nakano reported that according to wildlife officials, there are rules for being in snake country. One of them included wearing shoes and socks as opposed to sandals or going barefoot.
"Any type of boot or some type of leather, something good is going to protect your feet and ankle area, which is a common area for bites," Stoots said.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife also posted some guidelines on how to deal with snakes. However, the rattlesnake is the only poisonous snake native to the state.
"Generally not aggressive, rattlesnakes strike when threatened or deliberately provoked, but given room they will retreat," the state agency wrote. "Most snake bites occur when a rattlesnake is handled or accidentally touched by someone walking or climbing. The majority of snakebites occur on the hands, feet and ankles."
The state agency also recommended that people "avoid tall grass, weeds and heavy underbrush" and "avoid wandering around in the dark." That's because snakes like to hide and have been found near urban areas and golf courses.
"Be careful when stepping over the doorstep as well," the agency wrote. "Snakes like to crawl along the edge of buildings where they are protected on one side."
The agency also urged parents to "teach children early to respect snakes and to leave them alone." It also recommended installing a "rattlesnake proof" fence in the yard.
"The fence should either be solid or with mesh no larger than one-quarter inch," the agency wrote. "It should be at least three feet high with the bottom buried a few inches in the ground. Slanting your snake fence outward about a 30-degree angle will help."
Carramaza told Nakano that they will be a little more cautious in future trips to the outdoors.
"Being more aware of our surroundings and putting up some things in our backyard to keep the snakes out and counting our blessings," Carramaza said.