Saturday, October 26, 2013

Bad Bites 03 - Cobras

First of I extend my gratitude to reptile expert George Van Horn and his wife Rosa for their participation in this program. Their generous help, knowledge and wisdom made it possible to shine a light into the life of cobras and many other venomous sankes.

The highest rate of snakebite fatalities by far occurs in south Asia, particularly on the Indian subcontinent, where nearly 11,000 deaths occur every year, with the majority of snake bites attributed to cobras. Poor, rural areas that lack appropriate medical care and the correct anti venom contribute to this high number of snakebite fatalities. Cobras belong to the family of the Elapidae, along with mambas, kraits and coral snakes. The genus Naja contains over 20 species of cobras and is the most widespread and recognized genus of cobras. Members of the genus range from Africa through the Middle East, India, and Southeast Asia to Indonesia. Cobras very rarely attack people unprovoked, but when disturbed, they make full use of their deadly venom. Young cobras have the same amount of venom as the adult ones. Cobras prey on other snakes, birds and small mammals, while its main natural predators are other snakes, birds of prey and mongooses. Bad Bites of cobras was filmed by Heiko Kiera aka Ojatro in Florida in 2013.

Bad Bites 02 - Coral Snakes

First of I extend my gratitude to reptile expert Jack Facente for his participation in this program. His generous help, knowledge and wisdom made it possible to shine a light into the life of these reclusive yet wonderful animals. Coral snakes are extremely venomous, yet very secretive snakes, belonging to the family of elapids, which includes cobras, mambas and kraits. They are most notable for their red, yellow to white, and black colored banding. Coral snakes are native to North America such as the eastern or common coral snake, the Texas coral snake and the Arizona coral snake, found in the southern and western United States. Coral snakes can be found in other parts of the world which can have distinctly different patterns. Most species of coral snake are small in size. The North American species average around 3 feet (91 cm) in length, but specimens of up to 5 feet (150 cm) or slightly larger have been reported. Aquatic species have flattened tails acting as a fin, aiding in swimming.

Bad Bites 01 - Cottonmouth

Statistically, about 8,000 people are bitten by venomous snakes in the United States each year and an average of 10 people a year die because of improper care. In the Florida, about 10 people per year were bitten by a cottonmouths aka water moccasins near water. The height of snake season is between April and October, peaking between July and August. Snakes are generally less active at temperatures less than 50-60 degrees, or greater than 80 degrees. The cardinal signs and symptoms of pit viper envenomation include: burning pain (the commonest, earliest sign), puncture wound (50% of the time accompanied by a bloody ooze), swelling, skin discoloration, nausea and vomiting, minty, metallic, rubbery taste in the mouth, sweating, chills, numbness and tingling of the mouth, face, scalp, and wound site, ecchymosis and production of blebs and blisters, erythema and edema progressing from the wound site, weakness, vertigo, haematemesis epistaxis, muscle fasiculations, paralysis, shock, convulsions, loss of sphincter control, melena haematuria, and renal shutdown. Envenomation may include some or all of these symptoms, depending on the severity of envenomation. Death can occur up to several days following the bite, or in as little as two hours. In pit viper envenomation the average death occurs in two days. If the bite is inflicted in an artery, vein, lymphatics, or a nerve, death will occur in 30 seconds to 10 minutes. If the victim does not die within the first 10 to 30 minutes, you have excess of 12 hours to get to proper medical help; in most cases, severe complications or death will not occur if proper medical protocol is followed.