Popular Science

The best remedy for a snakebite: Carry car keys

Snakes rarely bite humans—and if they do, here's how to deal with it.


This scaly beauty is more afraid of you than you are of it.

Snakes have a reputation problem. In both fiction and real life, we frequently hear about life-threatening attacks from these reptiles—but actual venomous snakebites happen far less often than you might think.

Researchers estimate that, in the United States, snakes bite about 3,000 to 5,000 people each year. (The exact number is hard to gauge, because many bites are mild and require no treatment.) Even the highest estimates only go up to 8,000, which boils down to fewer than 1 in 37,500 people bitten by a venomous snake in a year. Snakebite deaths are even more rare, with an average of five per year in the U.S.

“Your chances of death by

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