Did you know that Benjamin Franklin admired timber rattlesnakes? Yep, one of America's Founding Fathers thought that rattlesnakes embodied uniquely American diplomacy and toughness.
“She never wounds till she has generously given notice, even to her enemy, and cautioned him against the danger of stepping on her,” he wrote in a Pennsylvania newspaper in 1775. “Was I wrong, Sir, in thinking this a strong picture of the temper and conduct of America?” He also noted that, like all snakes, timber rattlers don’t have eyelids, which made them naturally watchful. “She may therefore be esteemed an emblem of vigilance,” Franklin wrote. Rattlesnakes later became symbols of America’s war for independence.
Christopher Gadsden, a colonel from South Carolina, designed a personal flag to be flown on five ships belonging to the Continental Army. The bright yellow banner sported a coiled rattlesnake emblem and the caption “Don’t Tread on Me.” It remains popular today among those who advocate for smaller federal government.
About 7,000 to 8,000 people are bitten each year by snakes, but thanks to effective antivenins, most do not prove fatal. Even so, bites are extremely painful, require immediate medical attention, and each vial of snake antivenin costs thousands of dollars! The average snake bite victim requires anywhere from a few vials to dozens of them — it depends on factors like the size of the patient, the potency of venom in the bite and how quickly the patient is treated. The more antivenin needed, the higher the cost— and insurance often doesn’t cover much of it. Don't take a chance! Durable, protective snake gaiters for your lower legs can be the best defense against rattlesnakes, copperheads, and other pit vipers.