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 Post subject: Re: Interesting and NB Facts About Puff Adders and Other Snakes
Unread postPosted: Wed Jul 07, 2010 3:04 pm 
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As far as I know, Rinkhals are often confused with Cobras because they also have the "hood".

If memeory serves, they are referred to as false Cobras simply because they are not true Cobras but display some of the charateristics. (Hood and "spitting".)

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 Post subject: Re: Interesting and NB Facts About Puff Adders and Other Snakes
Unread postPosted: Wed Jul 07, 2010 3:05 pm 
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Thanks all, this has turned out to be very informative. Here is a list of medically important venomous snakes species that are present in the South Sub-Saharan Africa sub-region, one I have heard of that is scary is the Savannah vine or twig snake, a haemotoxic venom (induces bleeding) and understand there is no antidote made (the same venom as the boom slang but there is an antidote made for the boomslang), it is said you need to get a blood transfusion if bitten by the twig snake :big_eyes: :hmz:

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 Post subject: Re: Interesting and NB Facts About Puff Adders and Other Snakes
Unread postPosted: Wed Jul 07, 2010 3:26 pm 
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I saw a few pictures once of the vine snake.

It was virtually impossible to tell the vine apart from the vine snake. The cammoflage is quite extraordinary.

May be one of the reasons they are quite dangerous.

My general rule of thimb with snakes is simple. I don't know enough to tell one from another. (For example a coral snake is quite deadly (or venomous) and it is mimmicked by another snake that looks identical. The difference between a Cobra and an Adder is very obvious to most, so that one's easy).

Anyway,my rule of thimb is this: Leave 'em alone. If you see one, get away, stand still, do whatever but leave them alone. My teenager had a corn snake and often told me to pick it up. Yeah, RIIIIIIGHT.

If I leave them be, they should leave me be as it is said that snakes are more fearful of us than we are of them. Really? I have my doubts. :shock:

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Leave KNP alone. Go build a hotel someplace else. Reserves are for the preservation of wildlife.

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 Post subject: Re: Interesting and NB Facts About Puff Adders and Other Snakes
Unread postPosted: Wed Jul 07, 2010 3:54 pm 
I would not classify the Vine Snake as dangerous. They are shy and bites and casualties are VERY rare ….probably the reason why nobody ever took the trouble to produce an antivenom. :hmz:

@BH …most snakes are indeed scared of humans and will try and avoid contact….except the very stupid and very sociable Mfezi’s (Moz Cobras). :wall:
The books do not mention this, but just speak to people who live in areas where they occur. They just love getting into houses and from my experiences; you can be busy making loudest noise (vacuum cleaner) etc…that does not at all bother them

The snakes I’m the most wary of, in ranking order:
1 Black Mamba (Fascinating when one see it and you are in a save environment…nightmare otherwise :shock: )
2. Cape Cobra (Beautiful but aggressive and will stand its ground)
3. Mozambique Cobra (Even with the biggest racket going on, this snake will go and lay on your doormat :roll: )
4. Puff Adder (Well camouflaged and lazy…easy to be stepped on. “Eina” bite)
5. Snouted Cobra (although it is not aggressive, it scavenge at night and thus one can step on it).

The remainder of the venomous snakes are mostly shy and will avoid contact with humans. 8)
PS: I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting a Rinhals yet, so cannot really comment on it.


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 Post subject: Re: Interesting and NB Facts About Puff Adders and Other Snakes
Unread postPosted: Wed Jul 07, 2010 4:08 pm 
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Jumbo :thumbs_up: most likely the reason :)
1. Black Mamba
2. any venomus snake :doh: :lol: :lol: nah...
2. Cape Cobra
3. Puff Adder as one sees them too late :twisted:

The rinkhals is scary but tries to flee rather than attack and if harassed plays dead and this is when one can be bitten as you think it’s a dead snake and pick it up and it strikes.

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 Post subject: Re: Interesting and NB Facts About Puff Adders and Other Snakes
Unread postPosted: Wed Jul 07, 2010 6:52 pm 
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WoW, great thread Eagle Eyes! :clap: I am learning a lot, altho I've yet to actually see most of the snakes mentioned here ... so lots to lok forward to! :wink: There are so many myths and misinformation about snakes, it's great to get some positive facts.

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 Post subject: Re: Interesting and NB Facts About Puff Adders and Other Snakes
Unread postPosted: Wed Jul 07, 2010 8:06 pm 
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BH, you have brought up an interesting point. That is, can a snake have intention?

If you look at the reptile brain, it is very primitive, pretty much brain stem and not much else. The problem for us is the exiteability of different species of snakes. Like humans and other mammals, we differ in our sensitivity to external stimuli. A Mamba is probably very sensitive and quick reacting, a Boomslang not.

Bottom line is to regard each snake with caution. In the same way as my hand will snap back (without feeling pain) when burned by fire, a snake will strike without feeling emotion.

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 Post subject: Re: Interesting and NB Facts About Puff Adders and Other Snakes
Unread postPosted: Wed Jul 07, 2010 8:10 pm 
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Thanx everyone for making this such an awesome thread!
My worst snakes:
1. Black mamba
A pretty aggresive snake. My uncle was chased for 100m by one as a kid. My dad said he had never seen my uncle run so fast! :lol: Luckily the mamba didn't catch him. Once the venom is in you it moves almost too quickly to treat. Rather lose my leg than meet that one out of town.

2. Cape and other cobras
Venom also moves quickly and is neurotoxic. Thankfully they are shy and give you ample warning.

3. Gaboon adder
Although bites are rare because of the adder's docile nature it still has a reasonably potent venom but will not often bite and will then normally giva a dry bite. If venom is injected you are in DEEP trouble. It also has excellent caumoflage and is one of the biggest snakes of its family (vipers)

4. Puffies
Not too bad if bitten within an hour's drive of medical care and even so, will take over 24 hours to kill you.

5. Yellow-bellied sea snake
Although bites are rare because these snakes found in our waters have been washed away from the Indian Ocean and are normally too exhausted to bite or inject a fatal dose of venom. However the venom is potent and if enough is injected, could probably kill within a day. The scary thing is that people don't normally feel the bite and it is possible not to see it. If you have had a potentially fatal bite how can you know? :big_eyes:

6. All other poisonous snakes


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 Post subject: Re: Interesting and NB Facts About Puff Adders and Other Snakes
Unread postPosted: Wed Jul 07, 2010 8:18 pm 
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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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 Post subject: Re: Interesting and NB Facts About Puff Adders and Other Snakes
Unread postPosted: Wed Jul 07, 2010 8:40 pm 
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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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 Post subject: Re: Interesting and NB Facts About Puff Adders and Other Snakes
Unread postPosted: Wed Jul 07, 2010 9:12 pm 
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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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 Post subject: Re: Interesting and NB Facts About Puff Adders and Other Snakes
Unread postPosted: Wed Jul 07, 2010 9:51 pm 
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@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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 Post subject: Re: Interesting and NB Facts About Puff Adders and Other Snakes
Unread postPosted: Wed Jul 07, 2010 9:58 pm 
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Thanks for the detailed answer Eagle Eyes :clap: :thumbs_up: That really became a most informative and interesting thread :thumbs_up:

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 Post subject: Re: Interesting and NB Facts About Puff Adders and Other Snakes
Unread postPosted: Thu Jul 08, 2010 8:51 am 
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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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Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.
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 Post subject: Re: Interesting and NB Facts About Puff Adders and Other Snakes
Unread postPosted: 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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