COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KDVR) — The death of a Colorado child who was bitten by a rattlesnake has a family devastated and many asking questions about staying safe.
Simon Currat was out with his sister and father for a trail bike ride when tragedy struck. It happened at the Bluestem Prairie Open Space in Colorado Springs.
He was bit and collapsed. Simon’s father had left his phone behind and carried him to the nearest neighborhood to get help. At the hospital, he was treated with anti-venom but died a day later.
Simon’s mother said he was home-schooled and a loving brother to his sister, who uses a wheelchair. He had also just started losing his teeth and was very excited about that.
A fundraiser has been set up to help his family.
Rattlesnake bites happen in Colorado, but deaths are rare
While fatal rattlesnake bites are very rare, Currat’s death reminds us how dangerous they can be.
There are an average of 200 rattlesnake bites in Colorado every year.
“Bites do occur but the vast majority, we treat with anti-venom and people end up being just fine,” said Dr. Nicklaus Brandehoff, an emergency physician in Denver who specializes in snake bite management.
Cyndee Wildt survived a rattlesnake bite in 2016. She tried to swat the snake off her dog, thinking it was a garden snake.
Turned out it was a baby rattlesnake, which looks nothing like an adult rattlesnake. Had she known, she would not have tried removing it from her dog.
“The hand surgeon came in and was looking at it and said I was doing very well, and she started crying because if I didn’t take to the surgery, they were going to have to cut my arm open all the way up,” Wildt said.
Wildt was bitten in Golden, in the foothills of Jefferson County, where she says there are a lot of rattlers. She was in an area outside of a home, not on a trail where many of them are found.
What to do if you see a rattlesnake
“In a lot of cases, you are going to hear that distinct rattle, and what you should do in that case is freeze in place,” Colorado Parks and Wildlife Public Information Officer Jason Clay said. “This reduces you as a threat to that snake and it allows you to find out where that snake is at.”
“If there is a rattlesnake on the trail, go around it. Don’t ever try to move that snake or get it out of the way. A lot of times, that’s how bites occur — people trying to get a snake out of the way,” Clay said.
In some cases, you may not hear a rattle. That’s why it’s important to watch where you’re going.
“Watch where you are putting your feet, watch where you are putting your hands. If you want to touch this rock, make sure there is nothing on it or around the rock,” CPW species conservation coordinator Tina Jackson told Nexstar’s KDVR earlier this year.
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It’s also important to be prepared before entering an area where rattlesnakes may be, such as hiking trails or wooded paths.
“I always recommend wearing long pants. Wear closed-toe shoes because snakes live on the ground, so we want to make sure that anything we have below the knee is going to be protected,” Jackson said.
If you are bitten, experts say to stay calm and get to the nearest medical facility. Avoid using a tourniquet or ice pack, and don’t cut the wound open or try to suck out the venom with your mouth.