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Snakes

Find, identify & discuss the marine species of SANParks
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Twiga
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Snakes

Unread postby Twiga » Wed Feb 02, 2005 8:56 pm

I have read alot of stories here on the forum about episodes with snakes. I am absolutely petrified of snakes! :shock: Are there many snakes around in June or will they be hibernating at that time of year? Some reassurance please!
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bwana
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Unread postby bwana » Wed Feb 02, 2005 9:35 pm

katja wrote:Most snakes hibernate during winter, so there won't be many snakes around in June.
But you might still see a few. I saw one snake on the road in June 2003 and one in June 2004.



Guess who will be walking in front everwhere in Kruger in June! :lol: :lol:
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Unread postby Guinea Pig » Wed Feb 02, 2005 9:47 pm

Sorry, Twiga! :lol: Seriously now - you shouldn't have too much trouble in the winter. But always keep your eyes peeled. In the evenings - if you walk outside, try avoiding barefoot, always use a flashlight. NEVER just pick up a rock, piece of wood or something that's been lying around for some time. Make sure first.
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Tabs
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Unread postby Tabs » Wed Feb 02, 2005 10:34 pm

I have had a few 'encounters' with snakes in SA but none of them were life-threatening or even remotely scary.

I think that you have to be quite unlucky or a bit careless to get bitten by a snake - if you think about it, there are tons of people in Africa who live among snakes every day of their lives but who never get bitten.

The biggest risk for me comes from walking among the vegetation (grass) in the bush, which you are unlikely to do often as a tourist but which I have done a few times, and stepping on a puff-adder, as they are very sedentary and do not move at the approach of any animal or human.

Apart from puff adders, the only other snake that I have 'extreme respect for' while out walking is the black mamba but I have yet to come across one in my many bush walks.

The cobras are high on my 'must see' list - I have seen a few of the other venomous snakes, or members of their families, at fairly close quarters but have yet to see a cobra!

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Unread postby Guinea Pig » Wed Feb 02, 2005 10:40 pm

I have to agree with you Tabs. I've got serious respect for a snake, but your chances of having a fatal encounter with one are slim indeed. The Riverbend Crocodile Farm near Margate on the KZN South Coast now have a snake demonstration on Sunday afternoons. We attended one of these and the guide explained that it's actually the people who KEEP snakes that are more likely to get bitten than us normal people. Just be aware that there might be snakes, and keep your eyes open at all times.
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bwana
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Unread postby bwana » Wed Feb 02, 2005 10:46 pm

Saw this python in Lower Sabie, but it is not clear in the photo just how long it was:

Image
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Unread postby wildtuinman » Thu Feb 03, 2005 6:34 am

Snakes are not uncommon during winter in the Park. Last year July we saw a +- 3m long black mamba +- 2km outside Shingwedzi gate. A research team researching fruit bats there also saw a moz spitting cobra.

Most of the snakes, including venomous ones like black mambas and boomslang, I've seen in the Park was in actual fact seen in the winter months.

Also be very carefull at night times in camps for night and puff adders. Not so sure whether they'll be that active in winter though!
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Unread postby Wild@Heart » Thu Feb 03, 2005 6:38 am

Check carefully at night ... follow the hints that were given by the others.

I only encountered a "Puff Adder" and "Mozambiquen Spitting Cobra" in the park.

Fact is, most of them will rather avoid you...

[musketeer mode] no 2 ... best would be to get one big, huge, enormous, baseball bat (steel pref.). If you see snake, throw bat at it ... if need to, wife as well. Then RUN!!! (Away ... Not to !!) Remember, he who runs away, lives to see another day .. :lol: [/musketeer mode]
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Unread postby wildtuinman » Thu Feb 03, 2005 7:13 am

:lol: Thanks W@H.

I have also read that snakes can't see all that well. They can spot movement. So if you stand dead still you might make them loose interest and they'll move off.

Problems with puffadders is that they are so damn lazy and well camouflaged that most people get bitten by them while stepping on it. They bite more people than any other in SA. They are very venomous!

Meeting up with a black mamba is a different story: They are far more aggresive and at max 4 meters long can lift their body 2/3 in the air! That means they'll be able to stand taller than most humans! When hit by a mamba you better get help fast as they are one of the world's most venomous snakes!! They inject large quantities of venoum. Recorded cases included people dying within 30mins of getting hit.
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Unread postby wildtuinman » Thu Feb 03, 2005 9:39 am

Interesting about meeting snakes whilst hiking in the Kruger is that the rangers do carry some first aid kit with them and they know first aid themselves but when you get hit by a mamba or seriously injured by anything else they'll radio in a heli to come and fetch you.

Problem is that it might take some time for the heli to arrive and those minutes could be valuable when you had a ramba with mr. mamba. The rangers would like to tell you that the best rememdy is not to get bitten by it in the first place. With a bit of a smile on their faces.

Just 2 drops are enough to kill a human.Their venom is very potent and is mainly based on neurotoxins that are absorbed quickly by the prey. The venom will cause a blockade at the neuromuscular junction which blocks every signal from the brain passing through the nervous system to the muscles which causes systemic paralysis. The prey will die from suffocation due to paralysis of the muscles of respiration.
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Unread postby wildtuinman » Thu Feb 03, 2005 2:15 pm

Hi bert,

Close call hey?

Fortunately although the puffadder is very venomous it's poison take quite a long time to get going. She would have made it if you managed to keep her calm. Shock kills to u know!

She would have had some serious skin crafting maybe. With a mamba it could have been goodnight nurse!

They seem to like toilets, don't know why.
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Unread postby craigsa » Thu Feb 03, 2005 9:26 pm

Hi

Just some interesting things:
Snakes cant smell humans and their eyesight is not good.
I have heard that the reason why most people die from snake bites is from the shock they endure.
Craig
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Unread postby Krokodile » Thu Feb 03, 2005 11:59 pm

craigsa wrote:
Snakes cant smell humans and their eyesight is not good.


...and humans can't smell snakes and our eyesight is not that great either!

My husband told me a story about when he went on a hiking trail in the Soutpansberg with a mate. They stopped for a rest and his mate sat down. My husband told him not to move as he had inadvertently sat down on a Puffadder. Bit of a stalemate as neither could move! Husbands mate eventually had to get up reaaaaally slowly and went paler than pale when he realised that it was really a puffadder. Even paler when he saw the puncture marks and venom on his backpack! When they got to camp, they opened the snakebite kit out of curiosity to see what was inside and found 2 ampoules of antivenom. The instructions said "in case of snakebite from a Puffadder, immediately inject 10 ampoules into a vein and immediately seek medical help".

I think dinner was a quiet affair that night.

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Unread postby bwana » Sat Feb 05, 2005 2:08 am

Pilane wrote:A snake can definitly smell humans! For Venom in your eyes urine is Ok but water will do just fine. (dilute antivenin 1:10 if available) The secret is to rinse youre eyes continious for about half a hour. to describe the feeling: If somone puts a cigarette out in your eye it would be soothing....
It is not advisable to carry antivenin. 1. It must be kept under 25 deg. 2. Expensive/ must be replaced often 3. A lot of people show alergic reaction to it- then you have big @#& !

Best treatment: Pressure bandage
Adenaline or cortisone injection and all is OK until you reach a hospital proviided that they know how to treat a snake bite!

You have a 3- 4 hour window for most snakes. eccept for nasties like the Black mamba, but then again a black mamba is not nearly as bad as its reputation. You won't get closer than 30m to one in the wild on foot unless you suprise or corner it..


I thought a pressure bandage was the last thing to do? Thanks for the reassurance about the mamba. I almost had to cancel my honeymoon!!
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Unread postby Pilane » Sat Feb 05, 2005 7:51 am

Always us a pressure bandage even for cytotoxic like a Puff adder; A puffadder also has cardio toxins in its venom, so your heart can be affected, which would you prefer- more tissue damage or heart failure..... its up to you. A pressure bandage can actually limit tissue damage if applied soon enough after the bite. What if you don't know what snake bit you, are you going to take the chance and not apply a pressure bandage?
Remember this bandage is not a torniquet and should not prevent blood circulation. The only case where you should'nt apply a bandage is with a boomslang or twig/ vine snake. The heamotoxic venom will only start to work after a day or more.


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