Rattlesnakes and Scorpions

By Kary Vannice

The rivers of Mexico offer a tremendous amount of variety for aquatic enjoyment. You can partake of whitewater rafting, fishing, swimming, mangrove exploration; there’s an almost endless list of ways to experience their watery depths.

But beware! There are dangers that that lurk in and around Mexico’s rivers. And two of them are scorpions and rattlesnakes!

While both of these creatures are considered terrestrial, they are frequently found near water. And, in the case of the rattlesnake, can even be found in the water.

Rattlesnakes, like all snakes, are good swimmers and will take to the water to hunt, mate or escape being bothered by humans or other animals. Even though snakes have no arms, legs or fins, they are powerful swimmers, using their bodies (which are almost entirely muscle) to propel themselves forward.

Think you’re safe in the water because a rattlesnake must coil before it strikes? Think again! It is not necessary for a rattlesnake to coil before delivering a dose of venom, though I could find no account of a rattlesnake biting anyone while in the water.

Scorpions aren’t swimmers, but at least one source says they can live underwater for up to 2 days! These guys get most of their “water” from the prey they eat, so they don’t hang out near rivers to take a dip, or a sip, but rather, it’s simply their natural habitat, which is why you need to watch out!

If you’d rather not spend a day at the river smarting from a nasty sting, then a good rule is…don’t put your hands or feet where you can’t see them. Also, be sure to shake out your beach towels, backpacks and clothes before you pack them away, or put them on. And, remember, they love to crawl inside unoccupied shoes, so don’t slip your feet back into those sneakers until they’ve had a thorough inspection.

So, when in and around the water, have fun, but always be aware of what might be hidden, inches away, ready to strike!

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