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Oh, Good: El Niño To Also Bring Surge Of Snakebites

A hungry rattler preparing to bite you. (Photo by Joe McDonald via Shutterstock)
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File this under "worst nightmares coming true IRL."

According to the LA Times, in addition to all of its other ecological consequences, this year's upcoming Godzilla El Niño will also result in an uptick in snakebites.

Snakes are coldblooded, so environmental conditions affect the way they regulate their body temperatures, and thus, their behavior. A study conducted in Costa Rica and published in the journal Science Advances found that during the hot phase of El Niño, the rates of reported snakebites significantly increased. Scientists hypothesized that during this kind of weather, snakes are more "active" than usual, and wander further than they normally would—sometimes into the exposed ankles of humans.

But it doesn't end there! We're screwed during the cold phase of El Niño, too. When food becomes scarcer, snakes slither further from home in search of delicious rodents and may turn up in unexpected places.

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The article reports that snakebites "affect 2.5 million people around the world annually, and 400,000 of those people suffer serious medical consequences (such as nerve damage or amputations) and 85,000 of them will die." Those affected are disproportionately those living in rural, impoverished areas.