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Snakes: Interesting Facts About Puff Adders and Other Snakes

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flying cheetah
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Re: Interesting and NB Facts About Puff Adders and Other Snakes

Unread postby flying cheetah » Wed Jul 07, 2010 8:18 pm

Thanks for this informative thread Eagle Eyes :clap: :clap:
If have one question. Do you know if a dry bite looks different to one with venom? In other words, if a Puffie bites you can you diagnose if the bite was dry or do you have to wait if the pain gets worse or not?
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Re: Interesting and NB Facts About Puff Adders and Other Snakes

Unread postby Mfezi » Wed Jul 07, 2010 8:40 pm

10 out of 10 for this thread, Eagle Eyes :clap: .

:redface: I am a little bit lazy when it comes to posting photos and must get myself up tot scratch again on how to post photos. I will then post a photo or two of a Stiletto.

Mfezis are known to enter houses and cause bites. I know of at least 4 Mfezi bites (2 very young children) between December 2008 and February 2009. Some with severe cytotoxic effects. The Mfezi is also able to spit its venom without rearing up and spreading a hood while the Rinkhals must rear up and spread a hood to spit its venom. When the Rinkhals spits its venom, it will "throw" itself forward to give "speed" to the venom to travel.

I have also seen a Rinkhals bite a few years ago that showed only cytotoxic effects. No neurotoxic effects at all.

The Snouted Cobra also have cytotoxic and neurotoxic venom. A guy a few years ago got bitten and was on a ventilator for about a week and also lost the tip of his finger due to tissue damage (necrosis).

There is also a third snake in South Africa that is capable of spitting its venom. It is the Black Spitting Cobra (Naja nigricollis woodi).

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Re: Interesting and NB Facts About Puff Adders and Other Snakes

Unread postby wanderw » Wed Jul 07, 2010 9:12 pm

A very interesting and informative thread! :clap: :clap: Thank you EE and all the other contributors! :thumbs_up:

@Mfezi -
Mfezi wrote:The Mfezi is also able to spit its venom without rearing up and spreading a hood

:big_eyes: We encountered a Mfezi on an evening walk around Letaba camp in September last year. It was in the dry leaves near our feet, and when it came closer, we immediately backed off, and it disappeared, but I think we might have been a bit too close, given your fact above.
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Re: Interesting and NB Facts About Puff Adders and Other Snakes

Unread postby Eagle Eyes » Wed Jul 07, 2010 9:51 pm

@flying cheetah- I don't think there is any way to immediatly tell and even if it is a dry bite hospitalisation is needed. I will explain.

Common reason: the puncture wounds need to be disinfected and monitored as infections are common in snake bite cases.
Dangerous reason: you may get Mass Hysteria after a snake bite, especially if you think about it too muchor try to find something wrong with you. This is when your brain thinks you're sick and mananfactures symptoms. This can be fatal if undiagnosed if the venom your brain thinks is inside your body can cause death.
Other Reason: You can go into shock, hyperventilate, faint or have a variety of conditions caused by panic. The stress can also bring out an underlying medical problem.

@Mfezi- Where did you here about the Rinkhals and the Snouted Cobra having cytotoxic venom? I have done lots of research and apparently they only have neurotoxic. :? Maybe the swelling from the venom blocked the blood flow in the affected area and this caused necrosis. There is a proper name for this condition as it is often a complication in snake bite cases but I can't remember it. :redface:

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Re: Interesting and NB Facts About Puff Adders and Other Snakes

Unread postby JustNature » Thu Jul 08, 2010 8:51 am

EE, my understanding and notes made when I did the course are as follows,
Cobras:
Cape Cobra = Neurotoxic
Snouted Cobra, Angolan Cobra, Forest Cobra, Egyptian Cobra (not found in SA)= Neuro toxic, cytotoxic (the main effect is Neurotoxic and the lessa Cytotoxic)
Mozambique Spitting Cobra, Zebra Spitting Cobra = Cytotoxic
Western Black Spitting Cobra = Cytotoxic, Neurotoxic (the main effect is Cytotoxic and the lessa Neurotoxic)
Black Necked Spitting Cobra = Cytotoxic, Haemotoxic (the main effect is Cytotoxic and the lessa Haemotoxic)
Ringkals = Cytotoxic, Neurotoxic (the main effect is Cytotoxic and the lessa Neurotoxic)

Mfezi wrote:The Mfezi is also able to spit its venom without rearing up and spreading a hood while the Rinkhals must rear up and spread a hood to spit its venom. When the Rinkhals spits its venom, it will "throw" itself forward to give "speed" to the venom to travel.

:thumbs_up: they can be under a ledge where you are climbing a rock face and they cannot rear up but it can spray venom.
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Re: Interesting and NB Facts About Puff Adders and Other Snakes

Unread postby Jumbo » Thu Jul 08, 2010 9:18 am

Regarding the Snouted Cobra…my guidebook (A Complete guide to the snakes of Southern Africa, Johan Marais) does mention that the initial symptoms after a bite include “a burning pain and swelling that may result in blistering” …this is indeed cytotoxic symptoms….but it seems your major concern with such a bite is still the neurotoxic effects.

BTW, we had a great experience with a Snouted Cobra during our weeklong stay in Shingwedzi (Jan 2010)…encountered it 3 times….beautiful snake!!

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Re: Interesting and NB Facts About Puff Adders and Other Snakes

Unread postby Mfezi » Sat Jul 10, 2010 12:23 pm

Jumbo:

Great photos of that banded phase Snouted Cobra :thumbs_up: In 1999, I saw a Black mamba in a tree in Letaba and a few years later I saw a Boomslang in a tree above my tent in Lower Sabie camp (old camping area). Wonderful :thumbs_up: !!!

Eagle Eyes

Yes you are right, the Rinkhals and the Snouted Cobra both have a neurotoxic venom - primarily, but all venomous snakes have a cocktail of venom with one of the types(cyto, neuro, heamo) most of the time more dominant. The cytotoxic effects of the Rinkhals and Snouted Cobra bites I saw with people that have been bitten and where the snakes were positively identified by someone with over 15 years of experience with snakes / be a hobby for over 15 years.

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Re: Interesting and NB Facts About Puff Adders and Other Snakes

Unread postby Meandering Mouse » Sat Jul 10, 2010 3:22 pm

Jumbo :clap: :clap: :clap: stunning picture.

One thing that I would like to mention is the snake/reptile brain.

My biggest horror of reptiles was the thought that there was malevolent intent, in other words, they were out to get me. I might mention at this point that I had a snake phobia. It was so bad when I was a child that I could not sleep at night.

Once I realised that the reptile brain was as intelligent as my hand reaction on a stove, I could relax.

It has made me more relaxed, but also more respectful of reptiles.

It fascinates me that the root of my own DNA is a snake. It is pure, pure instinct.
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Re: Interesting and NB Facts About Puff Adders and Other Snakes

Unread postby oddesy » Sat Jul 10, 2010 4:11 pm

Great photos jumbo :thumbs_up: :thumbs_up:

And an interesting thread everyone :thumbs_up: :clap: My past trip to kruger was filled with snake sightings many more than i can ever remember in a single holiday :shock: 1 very young puffadder and three adults as well as a massive mfezi and unfortunately a dead boomslang :( .But of all the animals snakes still give me shivers :lol:

Interesting post MM, never thought about it like that :thumbs_up:
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Re: Interesting and NB Facts About Puff Adders and Other Snakes

Unread postby noel » Sat Jul 10, 2010 8:14 pm

Lovely thread, seeing that I am always lookout for sssssnakes when in the KNP.

MY son has loved snakes, since he was 5 years old, he is now 15, has had numerous snakes over the years, and still has two. Well, having a son who loves snakes, means that as a dad you have to know a lot about snakes-which ones are venomous and which are not, especially when he goes "hunting" for snakes.

Visits to snake parks was a must, and we often visited the Snake park at Haartebeestpoort Dam, well worth a visit. There they will tell you that a bite from a Puff Adder is like putting your hand in boiling hot oil. So I doubt very much that you will not know if you have had a "dry" bite from a Puffie. You would know for sure. And as a matter of interest, as far I know, Puffies do not give "dry" bites-they apparently do not have that control over their venom glands and has something to do with the muscular action involved in opening and closing the fangs for a strike. Then the venom inevitably flows. Do not wish it on my worst enemy. More bites from a puffie results in amputation than not.

And as far as I know its venom is only cytotoxic but of left untreated will result in heamotoxic and neurotoxic trouble.

Have not seen one in the KNP yet, but have seen them in other reserves. Seen Moz Spitter twice, boomslang once, and my favourite-Rock Python once. A few non venomous ones in between.

Have a great weekend snake lovers and other interested parties.

Noel

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Re: Interesting and NB Facts About Puff Adders and Other Snakes

Unread postby fooble » Sun Jul 11, 2010 9:17 am

Puff adder venom is indeed Highly Cytotoxic which is a slow acting cytotoxic or "cell destroying" venom. A bite will cause severe local and systemic symptoms which lead to extensive tissue damage which is incredible painful as the cells are basically being "destroyed or broken down" failing successful treatment necrosis in the tissue will which can lead to gangrene and secondary infections thus causing the lose of digits or arms/legs.

The puff adder a long with the Mozambique Spitting Cobra or Mfezi is responsible for most of the bites here in Southern Africa.

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Re: Interesting and NB Facts About Puff Adders and Other Snakes

Unread postby jacks » Mon Jul 19, 2010 9:28 pm

Eagle eyes, I think the name you were looking for is compartment syndrome - where the limb swells so much that the blood supply to the area is cut off. This is a medical emergency and needs to be operated on immediately.

I treated two stiletto snake bites in the park and the overwhelming symptom seemed to be the intense pain not relieved by either morphine or anti- inflammatories like Voltaren. Sloughing occurred at the bite area.

I am reading this post with great interest as my son is an avid snake collecter. We were taught at med school that although the puffie is mainly cytotoxic, a large dose of venom into the bloodstream has neurotoxic properties

Luckily for us the boomslang is also a very docile snake since the anti-venom is only available from gauteng. However, one has 48 hours to obtain the anti venom before the blood starts to break down.

You are right about the panic reaction, and in fact the recommendation is that one should first administer a anti-histamine for several reasons

1) it calms people down
2) it prevents an allergic reaction to the bite
3) if anti-serum is required, the chances of a reaction to it will be less

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Re: Interesting and NB Facts About Puff Adders and Other Snakes

Unread postby fooble » Mon Jul 26, 2010 2:57 pm

To ADD a Atractaspis bibronii or Stiletto snake from Kwa Zulu Natal.

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