Revered Snake Researcher Dies From Rattlesnake Chew At 80

FALLS CHURCH, Va. (AP) — A revered snake researcher who had been making important discoveries concerning the species since childhood has died after being bitten by a timber rattler.

William H. “Marty” Martin died Aug. 3 after being bitten the day earlier than by a captive snake on the property at his residence in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, in keeping with his spouse, Renee Martin.

Martin, who was 80 years previous, continued to make arduous mountain hikes to doc and rely snake populations in distant websites, mentioned Joe Villari, who manages the Bull Run Mountains Protect in northern Virginia and would accompany Martin on his outings there.

In this photo provided by Joe Villari, with the Virginia Outdoors Foundation, William H. “Marty” Martin poses for a picture at the Bull Run Mountains Preserve in Broad Run, Va., in July 2021.

On this picture supplied by Joe Villari, with the Virginia Open air Basis, William H. “Marty” Martin poses for an image on the Bull Run Mountains Protect in Broad Run, Va., in July 2021.
Joe Villari/Virginia Open air Basis by way of AP

“He was in his 80s, and he was arduous to maintain up with,” mentioned Villari, who made it a degree to affix Martin on his semiannual treks to distant mountain dens the place the snakes would stay.

John Sealy, a rattlesnake researcher from Stokesdale, North Carolina, who knew Martin for greater than 30 years, mentioned Martin was maybe the foremost authority on timber rattlers, a species he studied since childhood.

As a boy, Martin discovered a inhabitants of timber rattlers within the Bull Run Mountains that was beforehand unknown, and satisfied a herpetologist to come back out and confirm the discover.

Sealy mentioned Martin was recognized all through the group of snake consultants for his area work and analysis, and his capability to seek out and doc a species that makes itself arduous to seek out.

“They’re extraordinarily secretive animals,” he mentioned.

Deaths from snakebites are extraordinarily uncommon; the Facilities for Illness Management estimates they account for about 5 fatalities yearly within the U.S.

Dan Keyler, a toxicology professor on the College of Minnesota and an professional on snakebites, mentioned a second snakebite might be extra harmful than a primary for some folks and rattlesnakes might be extra harmful in the event that they develop to a dimension that enables them to inject extra venom. Age can be a consider an individual’s susceptibility.

Martin had been bitten earlier than in his profession, however recovered.

Villari mentioned timber rattlers are typically docile, keep away from human contact and sometimes gained’t chew even when they’re by chance stepped on.

“They save their venom for his or her prey,” he mentioned.



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