Western Diamondback rattlesnake bites

A teacher on campus got bitten by a poisonous snake during a research project on September 27.

Aaron Place, the teacher who got bitten, was conducting a research project investigating trial learning in snakes, when he was bitten by a Western Diamondback Rattlesnake.

“I was treated immediately at Share Medical Center, and am continuing treatment at OU Medical center,” Place said.

According to Place, the treatment is routine treatment for rattle snake bites.

“He is very skilled with snakes, so it’s shocking that he got bit,” one of his students said.

Having earned his B.S. in Wildlife Management and Biology and his M.S. in Biology, prior to this incident Aaron Place has had experience with snakes.

He had researched rattlesnake behavior at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, where he got his Ph.D in Zoology.

According to Place some of his favorite research topics consist of:

1. Ecology and evolution of pit vipers

2. Comparative animal behavior

3. Biogeography of snakes

4. The role of learning in defensive behavior

5. Feeding behavior of snakes


Place even titled his thesis ‘The Rattlesnake Rattle as a Caudal Lure’ and his dissertation ‘The role of Learning in the Expression of Rattling Behavior in the Western Diamondback Rattlesnake’.

Courses such as General Zoology, Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy, Limnology, Natural History of the Vertebrates, Herpetology, Animal Behavior, Evolution and Research Design in Animal Behavior are some of the classes Place teaches on the NWOSU campus.

Many of these classes that he teaches show his dedication to his research of the snakes he is often in company with. During a college class at First Baptist Church, Place was added to the prayer list. Place said he won’t let this incident change his views on having snakes in the classroom. “The snakes I keep in the classroom are nonvenomous,” he said.