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  1. #1

    Default Snake season is here!

    Our snakebite season usually starts just after the first rains.
    The southern stiletto snake usually opens the season.
    And so it was in 2013.

    On 21 October, we had our first rain (23 mm).
    On 22 October, this little stiletto was brought in by a lady, after it had bitten her on the thumb.
    (12 Gauge cartridge for comparison.)
    She was moving her dog's bedding, and the snake was hiding in it, when it bit her.

    sypikslang.jpg

    These snakes typically bites with a side-wards strike, (Explaining the Afrikaans name "sypikslang"), resulting in a wound with only one fang mark.
    Though this patient was really innocent, a large number of victims are people who tried to hold the snake with their fingers at the back of its head.

    The wound is usually very painful due to the cytotoxic effect.
    Local damage can be as bad as gangrene, necessitating the amputation of a finger, or part of a finger.
    The worst case I have seen had to have his right index finger amputated (yes his trigger finger!).
    No deaths have been reported due to Stiletto bites.

    The stiletto snake has a cytotoxic venom, but there is no anti-venom available against it.
    The South African Polyvalent anti-venom does not include stiletto snake.

    Treatment is usually symptomatic for pain and prevention of secondary infection. Cortisone reduces the inflammation and swelling, and maybe even the tissue damage.

    This patient spent only 24 hours in hospital, and had no permanent damage.

    The Mozambique spitting cobras will be next to have their turn.

    Willie Barnard

  2. #2

    Default Re: Snake season is here!

    Thanks for the heads-up, Doc!

    (+ learnt something new this evening)

  3. #3

    Default Re: Snake season is here!

    Mate of mine just called, his jack Russell just killed by snakebite. Cape Cobra. 3 mins from bite to death. Very sad. Keep an open eye.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Snake season is here!

    Very interesting post.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Snake season is here!

    Quote Originally Posted by Springer View Post
    Mate of mine just called, his jack Russell just killed by snakebite. Cape Cobra. 3 mins from bite to death. Very sad. Keep an open eye.
    What area?
    With all the new developments and roads being built here in the Sunningdale/Parklands area I won't be surprised if there are quite a few snakes found on people's properties. They are being forced out of their areas so to speak.

  6. #6
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    Default

    Also allot of non venomous snakes get killed because of a lack of knowledge, when I used to stay in the vaal on a plot we had rinkhalse every now and again most of the time it was aurora house snakes, brown house snakes and egg eaters that if you do not know the difference you would think its a night adder.

    Got my self a book and made sure I knew what I was dealing with from a small age when catching snakes.

    Sent from my GT-I9500 using Tapatalk

  7. #7

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Hein R View Post
    What area?With all the new developments and roads being built here in the Sunningdale/Parklands area I won't be surprised if there are quite a few snakes found on people's properties. They are being forced out of their areas so to speak.
    This was morningstar. Saw a huge bugger in Atlantic Beach during the week.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Snake season is here!

    Sorry to hear that, Springer.

    I have seen 3 puffies in the veld around Robertson/Ashton/Bonnievale in the last two weeks - 1 particularly big bugger on the road to Saggy Stone Brewery (Robertson).

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Snake season is here!

    Our snake season just ended over here.

    Here is one of our 2nd worst, Western Diamondback with the worst being Copperheads.

    This one got too close to my GSD dogs. He measured 1.7m without his head. Ones this size have about 3.5cm fangs. His head was about the size of your fist before my FAL round removed it.

    My neighbor Werner kindly held it up for the photo.


  10. #10
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    Default Re: Snake season is here!

    When it comes to snakes the myths/nonsense you hear can be jaw-dropping at times. I am not a herpitologist but have had a few dealing with snakes and other venomous reptiles.

    My question is how many of you know how to treat a snake bite? If I may I would like to perhaps give a few pointers.

    Firstly the 3 main types of venom you will find :

    Hemotoxic venom: This effects the cardiovascular system and blood, causing a breakdown or inflammation in the body.
    Neurotoxic venom: This as the name suggests, effects the nervous system, leading to everything from siezures to death.
    Cytotoxic venom: This is a type of combination venom that causes tissue necrosis and severe pain.

    Anti-venoms exist but are not always available, 2 types basically: A monovalent and a Polyvalent.

    As a result it is not necessary to capture/kill the snake and take it to hospital with you. This often leads to another person being bitten or you getting further bites.

    Treatment in the pre-hospital enviroment is supportive and symptomatic, this is obviously more difficult for the "every day chap"
    Firstly identify the site of the bite, DO NOT cut and attempt to suck out the venom. DO NOT make use of a tourniquet.
    Take a wide crepe/conforming bandage (you may need 2 or 3) if the bite is on a limb wrap from proximal to distal (from body outwards ie: from shoulder to hand) using a tight wrap. You want to decrease venous movement but not restrict arterial flow.
    Keep the patient calm and re-assured, anxiety leads to elevated heart rate which enables faster circulation of venom. Monitor the person and if they lose consciousness make sure to keep their airway open by placing them in the recovery position if possible. Call for advanced medical assistance as soon as possible. In a rural enviroment you may have to transport the patient yourself. Vommiting is a strong possibility if treatment is delayed.
    If you are unable to get medical support, try to contact the closest appropriate facility and inform them of the situation and the patients condition, they will give you advice and be able to prepare for your arrival.

    It is important to remember the longer you stay with a patient who has suffered an envenomation the more symptoms you will see, these may make you feel over whelmed and helpless, the most important thing you can do is stay calm and focus.
    This is by no means the begin and end all of pre-hospital snake-bite treatment and is meant as a simple guide to get you thinking and googling. If I have ommited anything I apologise and if protocols have changed I'd appreciate any corrections. I have however kept the treatment stated to a first aid level only.

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