Very few snakes, with the occasional exception of king cobras or black mambas act aggressively toward a human without provocation. Snakes are all meat eaters. They catch prey that includes insects, birds, small mammals, and other reptiles, sometimes other snakes. Some snakes grab prey with their teeth and then swallow it whole. Most snakes kill by constriction while only about 400 of 3,000 snake species worldwide inject venom
Snakes that inject venom use modified salivary glands. Venom is a modified form of saliva and probably evolved to aid in chemical digestion. Varying degrees of toxicity also make it useful in killing prey. During envenomation the venom passes from the venom gland through a duct into the snake’s fangs, and finally into its prey. Snake venom is a combination of numerous substances with varying effects. In simple terms, these proteins can be divided into 4 categories:
- Cytotoxins cause local tissue damage.
- Hemotoxins cause internal bleeding.
- Neurotoxins affect the nervous system.
- Cardiotoxins act directly on the heart.
WHAT TO DO INCASE OF A SNAKE BITE?
1. Note the Snake’s Appearance and be ready to describe the snake to emergency staff.
2. While waiting for medical help, protect the person by moving them beyond striking distance of the snake.
3. Have the person lie down with wound below the heart.
4. Keep the person calm and at rest, remaining as still as possible to keep venom from spreading.
5. Cover the wound with loose, sterile bandage.
6. Remove any jewellery from the area that was bitten.
7. Remove shoes if the leg or foot was bitten.
8. Do not apply ice or pour water on the wound.
9. Don’t attempt to suck the venom out or cut into the wound
10. Avoid giving caffeine, alcohol or other medication to the person.