Wearing a sturdy pair of denim pants may be just what the doctor ordered when it comes to preventing rattlesnake bites, according to a study recently published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine.
It stands to reason that any kind of barrier might foil the skin-penetrating force of a snake or other animal, but until now, there wasn’t direct evidence that jeans could help to prevent the damage inflicted by such attacks.
For the study, Shelton Herbert of Loma Linda University and co-author William Hayes devised a clever method to test their denim protection theory.
They created model human limbs out of warm, saline solution-filled gloves. One glove was left bare, while another was covered with denim. Each was used to elicit defensive strikes from small and large southern Pacific rattlesnakes.
While denim didn’t offer 100 percent protection, “the snakes injected significantly less venom into denim-covered gloves than bare gloves during defensive strikes, with a 60% reduction for small snakes and 66% for large snakes,” Herbert and Hayes report.
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