Thanks Flutterby, Higgsie, Kamadejo, Pumbaa, Hilda and Tawny
Can someone ID the tortoise for me please I don't think I have seen a leopard tortoise or maybe I have....
Yes it was also my first time seeing the klipspringers mate, maybe a once in a lifetime sighting, who knows.
When we look back on the trip and photos it is always the smaller things that make Kruger so special, if you come to think about those small tortoises surviving everydays challenges to adulthood. Makes you appreciate the next sighting of an adult tortoise.
Moving on I want to post our next days pics before our snake bite incident.
We did see this puffadder in the road just after sunrise
He was big but did not move an inch - we then talked about the danger of a puffadders bite and how much damage they can cause.
We arrived at Berg 'n Dal at about 09h00 and decided to walk the Rhino trail from the restaurant next to the fence towards the bungalows. We did not go too far down and turned around heading back to the shop.
I will try to keep this as short as possible. Me and SO were having a laugh as we discussed an incident a few years back at the same fence we were walking next to at that moment. We were taking photos of a dead impala in the waterhole with a hippo nearby. Now picture this : Both of us were looking into our cameras through our lenses and talking to each other. I warned her about the fence being electrified, after which she commented : " It is not working, I can rest my lens on it" This was not the case and a second later she uttered some words in another language......priceless moment, for the record I did manage to stop laughing the next day. But she had a dead arm for a few days
After our moment we headed towards the restaurant. Now there was a gap between Mecyla and Grandma, and SO and me, when out of the blue Mecyla screamed like crazy and grandma shouted it was a snake bite. This happened right in front of the restaurant, packed with guests. I ran like crazy to get to her and couldn't see the snake so I told SO to try and find the snake and take a picture.
This bite was really painful and I could see the bite mark on her little toe where the blood started to flow from. I picked her up and started running towards the reception area to find someone with first-aid or a doctor. I got told the nearest doctor was in Malelane, there is no doctors in the camp - SO did manage to get a clear picture to show to the staff member that was on duty. He couldn't id the snake accurately and said it was a puff adder. This did not help at all and I couldn't believe the standard of service we just had( then I was unaware that the nearest help is a hospital, I was under the impression they could assist with first-aid at all camps) We took off to get to Malelane as soon as possible and I can promise you - it was no fun speeding in the Park with the most beautiful little kid ever, screaming like crazy in the back and us not knowing the consequences of the bite, whether it will be fatal or not.
We got to Malelane and only found the fourth doctors' office open - I got a real workout running with her in my arms from door to door as the offices were pretty close to one another. Berg 'n Dal did inform them we were on our way so we went straight to the consulting room.
The doctor stabilised her on a drip and tried to id the snake in one of her snake books, but without any luck.
By now you could see the effect of the bite as the poison started to spread towards her ankle and the swelling became worse. Her breathing and conscious was normal so we figured that it was not a neurotoxic venom, but it was terribly frustrating not to know what the outcome will be. SO had the best job of firstly informing Mecylas' mom about the incident (staying calm in situations like this does not come naturally for my sister) while our little patient did not allow me to leave her side.
Next step we had to contact the ambulance from Nelspruit to come and collect her and take her to their hospital. Netcare 911 arrived an hour later as they were busy with another incident. I must give them compliments for their excellent service and calmness throughout. If I remember correctly the one medics' name was Kate, she takes care of the snake bites on the team and did a great job. I drove with Mecyla inside the ambulance to Nelspruit as Kate kept a watchful eye over her. Mom and SO in hot pursuit behind us. Straight to the ICU where she got treated for her symptoms (as the technology of snake bites evolve) That afternoon at four o'clock a snake specialist from Mpumalanga Parks arrived to id the snake as a night adder.
After investigating the bite he told us she was very lucky as only one of its teeth struck her and did not deliver a full dose of poison - he also said that the night adder is a less toxic snake but must not be under-estimated or taken lightly, a full dose would have caused more damage to an 8 year old. Interestingly, these snakes would rather avoid humans, even when stepped on, rather to attack and strike, so in a way to get bitten is very rare.
The swelling did spread a bit more but when the pain was under control she had a royal time in ICU, most of her family came from Gauteng to visit and she kept the nurses on their toes. There was another patient lying opposite her that had a meeting with a puff adder - one I think he would like to forget very quickly. We are very greatfull - it could have been fatal.
We did phone P'kop to inform them that we were not going to make it back in time and they should escort us back to camp which was handled very smoothly - the escort even stopped at a Genet sighting for us to enjoy!
After the trip I did followed this up with a few members of Sanparks concerning the awareness of dangerous snakes at all camps and picnic spots, as well as training the staff members to a level where they can positively identify any snake with providing the visitors/guests with re-assurance and to have an emergency procedure in place which would differ from camp to camp(depending on distance and availability of closest hospitals) I did get positive feedback and they are in the process of handling this matter
I was thinking, where is the nearest hospital to Shingwedzi? What would happen if you get bitten at a picnic spot without identifying the snake and without cellphone signal? Just a thought - but don't think about it when you go there........
Nevertheless, Mecyla is out of trouble and has no damage to her foot or toes. Man, did she have a story to tell at school with printed pictures, don't know how, but her story got announced over the school's intercom system by the principal ?????
I would like to know what you guys think about the structures that are in place at the moment when a snake bite occurs and what would be the ideal way of approaching this in future.
Maybe we should open a new thread if not in place yet?
I suggested a Snake display at every reception area and maybe picnic spots with the relevant information and directions to the nearest hospitals. Most of us are aware of the danger, but surely the majority are uninformed. We don't want to read about a snake bite fatality in Kruger where the snake was identified incorrectly by a staff member or that death could have been prevented.
Has anyone had a similar experience?
Here is a few pics of the whole incident....
Firstly the pic of the snake
This was the state of her foot four days after the bite
Happy to say, she did not develop a fear for snakes