Snakebites - Who Gets Bitten & Who Dies?

steve white

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Hopefully not too OT, but in Texas many years ago Bill Crawford was invited to go rattler catchin' using mirrors to cast a beam of sunlight up under sandstone caves near the Trinity river. They had 3 ft catching devices--"just put a good stretch on them when they bow up and lock themselves into the crevices" his friend said. "They give out in a minute or so."
Well, he put the stretch on one, and while waiting for it to give out, (laying down up underneath the cave ceiling) another rattlesnake innocently crawled up under his warm chest and decided to stay put there for over five minutes--wonder how LONG that felt! It finally slithered off, and Bill said in his understated way, "well, that's enough of that."
 

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I have dogs, when I encounter a poisonous snake anywhere near our home, lodge or camp it dies dead snakes do not bother my dogs.

Oh, by the way one of our chickens killed and ate a small cobra the other day. My wife says that chicken, which was given to us has a home for life.
 

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During 40 years in Southern Africa, being forester and hunter, I’m constantly out in the bush. Had never ever problems with snakes, although I saw quite a few, mainly puffadders, cape and egyptian cobras plus some boomslang. Just leave the snakes alone. Some idiots got bitten whilst handling snakes but well, don’t they deserve it?

Most snakebites occur below the knees so gaiters are a good idea if one worries about snakes. The best ones are from African Snakebite Institute (ASI) https://www.africansnakebiteinstitute.com/product-category/ppe-gaiters-gloves-glasses/
 

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Nyati

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During 40 years in Southern Africa, being forester and hunter, I’m constantly out in the bush. Had never ever problems with snakes, although I saw quite a few, mainly puffadders, cape and egyptian cobras plus some boomslang. Just leave the snakes alone. Some idiots got bitten whilst handling snakes but well, don’t they deserve it?

Most snakebites occur below the knees so gaiters are a good idea if one worries about snakes. The best ones are from African Snakebite Institute (ASI) https://www.africansnakebiteinstitute.com/product-category/ppe-gaiters-gloves-glasses/

During my last hunt in the Northern Cape, one of the hunters in my group shot a beautiful Cape Cobra. I let him know that this was just stupid, the snake was not going to attack him, and he just should have left it alone.
 

mikecatt13

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After reading this, I think I'm going to be wearing snake gaiters on subsequent safaris despite it not being the norm. The typical outfitter explanation seems to be "they arent out during the winter months" and/or "your PH or tracker will see them before you get too close". I call BS lol

Part of me thinks there are worse ways to go than doing what I love in Africa, but my wife goes with me too so that's a major worry. And I just dont know if I can stalk through tall grass without worrying about a snake.

I've always said, if I encounter a venomous snake I'll likely die from a heart attack regardless of if it bites or not. I'm terrified of them, and this is always a concern with safaris. Probably equally, or more, likely to die driving to the grocery store or crossing a street, but it doesnt make the prospect of these damn snakes any less terrifying considering the lack of medical care and possible remoteness of safari camps.

Maybe I'm wrong, but my understanding of some or most venomous species in Africa, depending on the location and proximity to "civilization", is the old saying "find some shade because you dont want to die out in the hot sun". Even with Global Rescue and a sat phone, you may be too far from the truck for those things to matter, let alone civilization with antivenom. Its unfortunate that antivenom is too cost prohibitive for safari outfitters to be able to have on hand. Is what it is I guess.
 

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