By Andrew Routledge
Many people ask me how dangerous are snakes?
The answer is that snakes have accumulated as many myths as sharks over the years. Like shark stories, most general beliefs about snakes have very little foundation in the truth.
However, they still remain animals that have developed unique ways of defending themselves and should be given the respect that they deserve.
Snakes are wild animals that just want to live out their lives the way they were designed to. With the exceptions of a few species that live mainly in Australia and Africa, the vast majority of venomous snakes have absolutely no interest in humans and do not attack.
In fact, people who live in warmer climates have quite probably been within inches of a venomous snake and never known about it. Snakes will often give fair warning before striking by hissing or using their rattles. They do this because they do not want to waste their venom on species that are not their prey.
Humans have a macabre relationship with snakes that is not really justified. The mere mention of the word initiates an anxious reaction that is deeply embedded in our unconscious mind as a primeval defense strategy against unnecessary injury.
So what do you do if you or somebody else are bitten by a snake?
The first thing to do is to lie the person down and keep them still. That includes yourself if it is you who was bitten. By doing this we are trying to keep the pulse low. However this has limited effect because the anxiety one feels after snake bite raises the pulse. In saying that, running about most definitely makes matters worse.
The second thing to do is to identify the type of snake that bit the person in question. If you can’t identify it make a mental note of exactly what it looked like.
Get some ice if possible and put it on the lesion. Keep the injured part of the body as still as possible. Apply a splint if you have suitable materials at hand.
Get medical help. Use your mobile phone to call an ambulance. If the ambulance station is far from where you are, ask for a helicopter or failing that start to drive in the direction of the ambulance. mark your car in some way that the ambulance will recognize you. e.g. use a shirt as a flag. Call the police they may be closer to your area. If you are in a park or wilderness call the ranger service. They may keep anti venom.
Meet the ambulance half way and transfer the patient to the ambulance.
NEVER attempt to suck the poison out or cut the wounded area. You may poison yourself and cause the venom to disperse more quickly. Only apply a tourniquet or any other type of blood flow restriction device if you are advised to do so by a medical professional.
Facts about Bites:
Normally a snake will strike very quickly and will inject about 1/2 – 1/4 of a drop of venom from each fang. Venom takes time to mix with the blood. You can demonstrate this by taking taking a glass of water and gently placing one drop of ink onto the surface of the water. You will notice how it takes a long time for the ink to mix throughout the water. Venom is the same. The venom is somewhere embedded in the tissue. It needs some time for it to spread evenly throughout the body.
If you are going into a wilderness, let the authorities know where you are going and when you are expected back. Take distress flares with you and find out if you will have reception for your mobile phone. Find out where help stations are situated, including emergency telephones.
Wear sensible boots, Do not turn over logs and rocks. Do not sit down without first checking the area and especially do not lean on fallen trees or rocks without checking them well first.
Do not be tempted to touch wildlife including snakes. Give them a wide girth, keep clear. Do not leave your boots outside of your tent at night, snakes like to crawl into places for protection from the cold.
Do not leave food scraps because they will attract the local rodents. Snakes follow their food source which is small animals, especially rodents. No rodents equals less chance of snakes.
If you don’t have a tent, sleep above ground in a hammock if you can. Follow these simple rules and your chances of being bitten are much less.
Remember! of you are going to work in your garden or pick something up in a place that has good camouflage for snakes like under bushes, among leaves, rocks or timber test the whole area gently with a long stick first.
Living in the middle east brings me into contact with snakes now and again. Snakes are scary but they also do us a big service by controlling the numbers of mice and rats. I have learned to respect them and to leave them to get on with their lives. Really they are just animals and they want to be left alone. I hope you like the article. I also write content articles for the internet and copy for all purposes. If you would like to talk to me about any projects you need doing please contact me at my main e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org or voice mail me at email@example.com
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