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Snakes: Interesting Facts About Puff Adders and Other Snakes

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

Unread post by BunnyHugger » Wed Jul 07, 2010 9:46 am

Unlike (most) other snakes that lay eggs, Puffies give birth to live young.

The newborns are just as toxic at birth as mom. :shock:
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Re: Interesting and NB Facts About Puff Adders and Other Snakes

Unread post by Jumbo » Wed Jul 07, 2010 10:06 am

Great topic Eagle Eyes!

Eagle Eyes wrote:It will warn you of its presence and will try to get away.


Do however not bargain on the warning…learned that from personal experience. :roll: But if it indeed makes its warning hiss, it is quite loud.

Mfezi wrote:I would like to mention that the Stiletto snake (Atractaspis bibronii, cannot be safely held behind the head like any other venomous snake. It turns its head to the side and stab you with a fang.


Lourens (from Phalaborwa) can vouch for this… :lol:

Meandering Mouse wrote:I wonder if the bite of a puffie is more painful than some other snakes? It is cytotoxic, that is it destroys living tissue.


The puffy has long fangs, so the bite is more painful. The swelling etc from the cytotoxic venom also causes severe pain.

Eagle Eyes wrote:@JustNature- I didn't know about puffies being both cytotoxic and neurotoxic. I know that some puffie bites have complications and sometimes the venom can indirectly cause similiar effects as some other types of venom. I know there are some snakes that do have two types of venom but I'm not sure which. I couldn't find anything on puffies though... :huh:
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I’ve also never heard that a puffy’s venom has neurotoxic properties. :? A snake that’s venom does cause both cytotoxic and neurotoxic symptoms is the Mozambique Spitting Cobra.

Talking about the Mfezi (Mozambique Spitting Cobra), herewith my interesting Puffy fact. The Puff Adder is one of the preferred prey of the Mozambique Spitting Cobra.
Most people also do not realize that the Puff Adder is most active after dark…

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

Unread post by BunnyHugger » Wed Jul 07, 2010 10:45 am

Latin Name: Bitis arietans

Length: Up to 1 m.

Lifespan: Average 13 years.

Distribution: Found throughout Africa except for desert regions and mountaintops.

Food: Rats, mice, other small mammals, birds, frogs, toads and other snakes.

Reproduction:
Puff Adders are viviparous (give birth to live young), giving birth to 16 – 40 young, which are born in the late summer. The young are highly venomous upon hatching and are capable of inflicting a serious bite.
The Puff Adder holds the record for giving birth to the most amount young by any snake, 156!

Venom:
Their venom is Cytotoxic and highly dangerous. Once the venom enters the body, the body sends plasma (white blood cells) to the site of the bite to try and dilute the venom. With the venom being so potent, excess amounts of plasma sent cause the body tissues to swell up to the degree where the veins are compressed tightly up against the skin, resulting in loss of blood circulation. The area that swells up will often turns to a blackish-blue color with there being a lack of blood.
If not treated promptly, often amputations may necessary after about 4 hours.

Notes:
The Puff Adder is responsible for most of the serious snakebite incidents in Africa as it is the most common widespread venomous snake on the continent and often does not move when approached resulting in many people being bitten.
It is a rather sluggish moving snake but can strike very rapidly. From a coiled position too striking and then returning back to a coiled position takes just 0,24 of a second!
When approached they will often hiss and puff, hence the name “Puff Adder”.

Found this on South African Wildlife Blogspot.
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Leave KNP alone. Go build a hotel someplace else. Reserves are for the preservation of wildlife.

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

Unread post by JustNature » Wed Jul 07, 2010 11:45 am

:redface: When I said they are neuro toxic it is mild by my understanding but they are definitely cytotoxoic, and as for the the cobra's, most of them are both neuro toxic and cytotoxic but in this case they are more neuro toxic than cytotoxic. In a puff adder bite there is swelling and in the case of a cobra bite the area starts getting indented. Adders have hinged fangs and cobra's have fixed front fangs.
BunnyHugger wrote:Venom:
Their venom is Cytotoxic and highly dangerous. Once the venom enters the body, the body sends plasma (white blood cells) to the site of the bite to try and dilute the venom. With the venom being so potent, excess amounts of plasma sent cause the body tissues to swell up to the degree where the veins are compressed tightly up against the skin, resulting in loss of blood circulation. The area that swells up will often turns to a blackish-blue color with there being a lack of blood.
If not treated promptly, often amputations may necessary after about 4 hours.

BunnyHugger, that is why one uses a crepe bandage on the bite because of the swelling and DO NOT cut the bite site or appy ice to it they say. Need to check my notes and will get more info on the treatment.
Let us permit nature to have her way. She understands her business better than we do.
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Re: Interesting and NB Facts About Puff Adders and Other Snakes

Unread post by JustNature » Wed Jul 07, 2010 1:59 pm

Jumbo wrote:From what I can understand out of my guidebook is that the spitting cobras do have predominantly neurotoxic venom, but can also have some cytotoxic symptoms. The exception is the Mozambique Spitting Cobra that has predominantly cytotoxic venom (slight neurotoxic symptoms). We only have two spitting cobras in SA, the Mozambique Spitting Cobra and the Rinkhals.

:thumbs_up: Jumbo, my understanding is the Rinkhals is not really classed as a cobra, the venom from cobras is injected through the fangs the same as all snakes but in the cobra the hole in the fang through which the venom is sprayed or injected has a 90 degree bend in it near the end forcing the venom out to the front of it, this is also why they move the head to get a broader spray, but the Rinkhals does not have this bend and is like other snakes and thus raises higher than normal cobras and tilts its head then spraying it's venom.
Let us permit nature to have her way. She understands her business better than we do.
Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.
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Jumbo

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

Unread post by Jumbo » Wed Jul 07, 2010 2:34 pm

JustNature wrote: :thumbs_up: Jumbo, my understanding is the Rinkhals is not really classed as a cobra,


You are right! I’ve never realized this, but one only need to look at the Latin name see it (not a Naja)!! :roll: The Rinkhals is actually in a genus on its own. 8)
Seems it also differs from cobras by the fact that it is ovoviviparous (gives birth to live young.) It also has keeled dorsal scales.
Great info! :thumbs_up:

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

Unread post by AjayB » Wed Jul 07, 2010 2:58 pm

Yup. The confusion might possibly come in I think by laypeople generally referring to any spitting snake as a rinkhals.

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

Unread post by BunnyHugger » Wed Jul 07, 2010 3:04 pm

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

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

Unread post by JustNature » Wed Jul 07, 2010 3:05 pm

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:
Let us permit nature to have her way. She understands her business better than we do.
Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.
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Re: Interesting and NB Facts About Puff Adders and Other Snakes

Unread post by BunnyHugger » Wed Jul 07, 2010 3:26 pm

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:
Bunny Hugger

Conservation is not an option.
It's imperative.

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

Think Pink. ..

Jumbo

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

Unread post by Jumbo » 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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Re: Interesting and NB Facts About Puff Adders and Other Snakes

Unread post by JustNature » Wed Jul 07, 2010 4:08 pm

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.
Let us permit nature to have her way. She understands her business better than we do.
Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.
KNP 18/05/2012-27/05/2012

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

Unread post by arks » Wed Jul 07, 2010 6:52 pm

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

Unread post by Meandering Mouse » Wed Jul 07, 2010 8:06 pm

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.
The bird doesn't sing because it has answers, it sings because it has a song.

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

Unread post by Eagle Eyes » Wed Jul 07, 2010 8:10 pm

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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