The most dangerous animals on the North American
continent, by a margin of 1000 to one, are not bears,
mountain lions or wolves but poisonous snakes.
Attacks occur far more frequently than most people
suspect; 6500 to 7000 humans are bitten by venomous
snakes in the United States each year. Fortunately, the
death rate from snakebite is low, largely because of
widespread knowledge about snakes and the fact that
in most cases treatment is prompt. Yet for the victims,
even though they survive, the ordeal is a dreadful
experience sometimes resulting weeks or months of
illness, permanent crippling, the loss of a hand or foot,
or other lasting handicaps.