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Old 21st January 2009, 00:42   #76
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Originally Posted by for_cars1 View Post
A rattlesnake should have a rattler at the end shouldn't it ? I guess you have to find its tail and look there to confirm.
For a black cobra, you would have to provoke it and see it raise its hood

After seeing so many shows on National Geographic, Discovery and Animal planet about snakes, i am kind of information overloaded about them and i'm mentioning the same below.

Rattlesnake is a species of Viper and thankfully they are not found in India. They are found in the Americas(N&S).
In india Pitviper and Russels viper species is common (short, fast, thick muscular snakes)
- All viper species have a triangle shaped head which is rather flat, so it can be identified that way.
- Vipers are usually muscular and lie coiled in with their head curled inwards to striking. They quickly strike and withdraw so fast (few milliseconds)
- If they feel threatened, Vipers can strike without provocation so the theory of lying still and not moving might not always work.
- Viper venom is haemotoxic, which means the venom will dissolve the blood and the tissues which it comes in contact with and rotting will set in. There is excruciating pain internal bleeding can set in and the part usually needs amputation if not promptly treated.
- The venom actually digests the prey inside out and helps the snake in this way. The viper fangs are long and deep because of the haemotoxic nature of the venom, the more deeper it is injected the better for the snake.
- They normally inject twice the amount of venom required to kill a human in a single bite.

On the other hand, as it has been mentioned in this thread, Cobras and Kraits have neurotoxic venom, which means the venom spreads throughout the body and lodges itself between the nerve endings and blocks all signals sent by the brain and spinal cord to the muscles. So the muscles end up paralysed and which collapses the heart and lungs with fatal consequences.
I haven't seen much about Kraits in the shows, but Cobras have to raise up and spread its hood before striking, which they do only if provoked or cornered or if someone steps on them.

On encountering a snake, it may not be a good idea to decide whether it is poisonous or not by seeing the color of its skin. In nature most non-venomous snakes have evolved to mimic the external looks of venomous snakes just to appear dangerous to predators.


Thanks for posting the above. It saved me a lot of work to type and post it.

Regarding kraits, the most common one is called,well, the Common krait. They are about a metre long and as thick as our fingers or a little thicker. Their color can vary from brown to deep purple/bluish depending from region to region. They have bands running across them. During the day they are inactive and we could even pick them up by hand and play with them. however they are most active at night and there are cases of people being bitten by kraits while trying to relieve themselves in the night.As mentioned, kraits have neurotoxic venom which shuts down the nervous system causing death by heart failure. The bite of a krait is painless and can give the victim a false assurance of being ok but 2-3hrs later he would be dead.

Also one thing I would like to add, venom is a mechanism used by snakes for hunting and sometimes humans get bitten by venomous snakes but venom is not transferred by the snake. This is called a dry bite. In such a case, the snake feels that its not worth wasting its precious venom on a mortal like us. Lucky guy who is a victim of a dry bite.
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Old 21st January 2009, 07:11   #77
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Originally Posted by princezahed View Post
... however they are most active at night and there are cases of people being bitten by kraits while trying to relieve themselves in the night.....
One questionable immeditate first aid treatment for a venomous snakebite is for a friend to quickly cut the flesh on the heart side of the bite and suck out as much blood and poison as possible and spit it out. (Yeah, yeah, its "venom" but common parliance says "poison". Its just a semmantic quibble leading nowhere.)

There is and old joke in North America about rattlesnake bites and their location on the body. "It is things like this that let you know who your REAL friends are."
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Old 21st January 2009, 07:30   #78
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DirtyDan
There is and old joke in North America about rattlesnake bites and their location on the body. "It is things like this that let you know who your REAL friends are."
too good Dan. Anything for a friend!
On a serious note, this method is still in practice albeit using a sharp tool to cut and drain that much amount of blood. However without expert help, it might be possible for the person to die of blood loss and cut infection rather than the bite hehe.

Last edited by Rocky_Balboa : 21st January 2009 at 07:33.
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Old 21st January 2009, 10:34   #79
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Hi all,we have faced this on quite a few occasions when we go offroading in the western ghats rainforest. mostly we come across the green pit vipers which are common to this areas. also there are leeches which suck blood from the body.they are very quick to attach to your body and you notice them only after they increase in size due to blood intake .Ticks and ants are also common. you should be careful of red ants nest which are on branch tips of small trees. we mostly have 1 or 2 doctors who are part of our group and generally follow the main track .it is better to take precautions as the nearest hospital is at least 4 to 5 hours away.cheers,***
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Old 21st January 2009, 11:26   #80
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I have a doubt long standing.Is there medicines(anti-venom) available for all types of snakes found in India?
--
then ,if somehow a black mamba bite emergency comes ,How they will manage(I know mamba are not found in India no way!).
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Old 21st January 2009, 15:10   #81
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Do you guys recommend wearing long leather / rubber boots when offroading? Are snakebites on the legs common for jungle folk?
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Old 21st January 2009, 15:16   #82
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Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Do you guys recommend wearing long leather / rubber boots when offroading? Are snakebites on the legs common for jungle folk?
It's one of the most common sites for snakebites, so tough shoes are definitely safer. Most vipers are ambush hunters and their favourite way of catching prey is to lie very still. It is because of this that most Russel's vipers bites take place; you might actually step on one before you even know it's there!
The Cobra will rear up and flare his hood, the saw-scaled viper makes a "sawing" sound by briskly rubbing its scales together, but the damned Russel's doesn't make a sound and it's highly venomous too!
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Old 21st January 2009, 15:19   #83
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Originally Posted by badboyscad View Post
Yes there are exceptions but not many(or maybe none) in Tamilnadu. For example : the coral snake(highly venomous) and the red milk snake(non venomous) are almost identical except for their color patters, but snakes like these do not exist in India.

The coral snake(highly venomous) red-yellow-black:
Attachment 91469

The red milk snake(non venomous) red-black-white:
Attachment 91470
There's a rhyme to tell the difference

Red touches Yellow, Dangerous fellow
Red touches Black, harmless Jack
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Old 21st January 2009, 20:42   #84
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vikram18
It's one of the most common sites for snakebites, so tough shoes are definitely safer.
Tough boots and tough pants also I suppose. Do we have these in India and any specific brand suggestion?
Come to think of it, are these really useful? I mean a snake can reach a person anywhere right, is leg the most common recipient of a bite?
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Old 21st January 2009, 21:41   #85
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loose fit tough fabric pants are a help, the ends clipped and tucked into a good pair of army style boots would help against many of the creatures often encountered walking in the jungles. what we used to do was to pour some turpentine oil on the boots as well, keeps them away because of the strong smell, a practice very common among tea garden workers.

but as gto experienced, a snake might fall from a tree at times, so one can only be cautious and if anything happens like that, keep calm; the snake would be much more eager to go away and might bite instead if the person gets scared and starts moving frantically, not an easy thing to do, but i have had this experience with a small snake falling on me also there are some small thin snakes which will jump, make a tight sine wave kind of posture and release or straighten very fast to have a flying effect of 5-10 feet, very rare but are there in eastern part of india that i have come across.

one more thing i have noticed, snakes found near homes like to live near septic tanks somehow. people use a flowering plant called sarpagandha (Rauwolfia serpentina as i found on wiki) around homes, gives off a garlic kind of strong smell and is said to be effective in keeping snakes away.

many a times a bite victim may collapse and die of anxiety and heart attack than from the bite itself, so identification is a boon if possible. one small thing to look for is the nature of bite, what we have been learning all throughout growing up years is that most venomous snakes take either one or two quick bites or twist itself during the bite if it is a long bite to inject more venom. the non-poisonous variety will generally take multiple bites and chew when biting, of course there are the tale-tell signs of two pronounced holes in the center area in case of a venomous snake bite.

the cloudy eye snakes as written are the most prone to attack without provocation, not so easy to spot the eyes though, but they do not move much on someone approaching, which is an unusual behavior to look out for.

this thread is major ot but as long as people are aware and keep safe, worth it.

Last edited by aburagohain : 21st January 2009 at 21:43.
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Old 21st January 2009, 21:59   #86
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Surfing though net reveals that all Big 4 snake bites can be treated with the same Anti Venom (specific type that can treat multiple types of venoms). Hope its easily available.
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Old 21st January 2009, 22:33   #87
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Originally Posted by DirtyDan View Post
One questionable immeditate first aid treatment for a venomous snakebite is for a friend to quickly cut the flesh on the heart side of the bite and suck out as much blood and poison as possible and spit it out. (Yeah, yeah, its "venom" but common parliance says "poison". Its just a semmantic quibble leading nowhere.)
This method doesnt work. Infact it is more prone to cause an infection or septic which could lead to further complications. What can be done is to make the bite victim lie as still as possible and tie a cloth tightly around the bite so that blood flow to and from that region is minimal and slow.

Quote:
Originally Posted by deepclutch View Post
I have a doubt long standing.Is there medicines(anti-venom) available for all types of snakes found in India?
--
then ,if somehow a black mamba bite emergency comes ,How they will manage(I know mamba are not found in India no way!).
Except for the King Cobra bite, anti-venom is available for the other venomous snakes. The reason being that Kings are so shy creatures that their contact with humans is almost negligible.

Regarding your second question, you answered it yourself. Mamba's are not found in the Indian subcontinent. However if such an emergency arises the anti venom would be flown in from the nearest station stocking the same.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Do you guys recommend wearing long leather / rubber boots when offroading? Are snakebites on the legs common for jungle folk?
Its always advisable to wear long gum boots with the trousers tucked into them. Legs are the most common place for a snake bit to occur apart from the hands.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vikram18 View Post
There's a rhyme to tell the difference

Red touches Yellow, Dangerous fellow
Red touches Black, harmless Jack
Red and yellow, dirty fellow
Red and black,friend of Jack

Quote:
Originally Posted by NetfreakBombay View Post
Surfing though net reveals that all Big 4 snake bites can be treated with the same Anti Venom (specific type that can treat multiple types of venoms). Hope its easily available.
Anti venom is easily available in most hospitals,even in small towns where bite cases are most.
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Old 21st January 2009, 23:45   #88
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OT:
When I was holidaying in Langkawi Islands, Malaysia; Wifey forced me for a snake park visit just to overcome my fear of snakes. Though afraid, I was alright seeing snakes not in captivity also. However one snake in captivity sent shivers through my spine, when it bit (or tried to bite) the fiber glass enclosure as I was trying to capture another's pic. If not for the fiber glass, it would have probably landed straight in my face. This was the snake that sent shivers, pic courtesy FlickR.

By the way, I was amazed how someone can handle such a snake from this picture, courtesy FlickR.
Attached Images
  

Last edited by Rocky_Balboa : 22nd January 2009 at 00:00.
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Old 22nd January 2009, 00:20   #89
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Jus saw this thread and remembered an incident:
One late evening we were driving by the river and seeing an open spot we stopped to step out, all of us got of the car except my friend (who was driving) and I, As we parked on the bumpy road side, it felt like we crushed a few twigs and branches... only we got off did my friend realize that we'd run over a viper while parking and the front right wheel was on the snake and check this out - the viper repeatedly struck the tire before it died (due to a broken spine) (we made sure it was dead). washed the drops of venom off the tire before we headed out and oh! BTW everybody who got off dived into the car and begged that we wouldn't stop till we reached home.
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Old 22nd January 2009, 01:57   #90
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rocky_Balboa View Post
OT:
When I was holidaying in Langkawi Islands, Malaysia; Wifey forced me for a snake park visit just to overcome my fear of snakes. Though afraid, I was alright seeing snakes not in captivity also. However one snake in captivity sent shivers through my spine, when it bit (or tried to bite) the fiber glass enclosure as I was trying to capture another's pic. If not for the fiber glass, it would have probably landed straight in my face. This was the snake that sent shivers, pic courtesy FlickR.

By the way, I was amazed how someone can handle such a snake from this picture, courtesy FlickR.

In the first picture, are the snakes mating? (serious question)

In the second one, that snake is HUGE!! What happens if it gets tired of being upright, and lets its head fall, thereby swinging it towards the person's leg (or worse) and it bites? Dangerous way to hold a snake that big, if you ask me, even if it makes for a great photo!
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