Author Topic: SSssnakes..!  (Read 3865 times)

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SSssnakes..!
« on: June 12, 2008, 08:44:55 AM »
Some info on our hissing neighbours. 2 years in & so far no sightings BUT some neighbours report seeing cobras around here....gulp!  :o

Be careful..Snakes!

RECENTLY, while workers were excavating an ancient walled city in Manila, they found an old cannon still loaded with live ammunition. Suddenly, the workers scrambled out of the excavation. Because of the cannon? No, because they had found a pile of snakes eggs, and parent snakes sometimes stay near their eggs until they hatch. The cry went out, Be careful, snakes! The workers feared the snakes more than the loaded cannon.

Unless you live in Ireland, New Zealand, some isolated islands, or areas of permanently frozen subsoil like the Arctic, there are snakes in your country. But the greatest profusion is in the tropics, and in the Philippines they are very common. However, of the almost 3,000 known varieties fewer than 200 are dangerous to man.

The pit viper has another remarkable ability. The pit, which is a peculiar depression between the eye and the nostril in this snake\'s head, is highly sensitive to heat radiation and air vibrations. With it, the viper can trail and strike a warm-blooded prey even at night. The pit viper is also unusual in that its fangs are not permanently erect. Normally, they fold into its mouth, but when the snake strikes, it moves them into an attacking position and strikes with a stabbing motion that enables it to penetrate clothing. These two characteristics make the pit viper one of the Philippines more dangerous snakes.

Be Alert

Most people living in tropical countries have had experiences with snakes. In the Philippines, the most dangerous is probably the cobra, because it often lives near people and is ill-tempered.

For example, one morning a 14-year-old boy came downstairs to his father\'s store and stepped on a Luzon cobra! The snake reared up to strike. Its mate rushed from a nearby crate of bottles to join the attack. With the snakes chasing, the boy ran behind some sacks of rice and finally escaped outside. Eventually, the cobras were cornered. In furious defence, one spat and hit a pursuer on the forehead with its venom. It was aiming for the eyes. Cobra venom in the eyes is very painful and can damage the eyesight unless washed out immediately. Finally, both snakes were killed.

Another time, a Samar cobra visited an assembly of Jehovah\'s Witnesses. It was doubtless attracted by the cool, shaded grass under the speaker\'s platform. After the assembly, many delegates crowded around the platform to take photographs of one another. They were still there when workers began to dismantle the platform. The cobra was disturbed and angrily reared to strike. One of the delegates, a Mansaka tribesman, on hearing the movement, quickly seized a piece of wood and killed the snake.

We have another, less common cobra in this country: the king cobra. This has the dubious distinction of being the world\'s largest poisonous snake. This cobra, too, is fierce and aggressive.

On the other hand, the sea snake, although poisonous, is usually gentle and inoffensive. Once, while on a trip to Samal Island, some vacationers found one swimming along with them. It was put in a jar and shown around to everyone. Then it was released. These gentler snakes, often gold and black, live in shallow coastal waters.

Be Sensible

Snakes usually do not attack unless provoked. Hence, a sensible person can generally avoid them. It is good not to walk without protective clothing through areas known to have snakes. Many are bitten when they tread with bare or sandalled feet on snakes hidden in the grass, or when they pick up a snake along with an armful of grass.

But what happens if, in spite of being careful, someone gets bitten? Well, first of all, don\'t panic. Remember, most snakes are not poisonous. And even if someone is bitten by a venomous snake, all is not lost.

There are two basic ingredients in snake venom. One, called hemolytic, attacks the lining of blood vessels and breaks up blood corpuscles. The other, neurotoxic, attacks the nerve centers, especially those connected with breathing. Of those bitten by predominantly neurotoxic snakes like the cobra, three out of five have no significant poisoning at all, and it is by no means inevitable that the other two will die. Even in the case of snakes with the more dangerous hemolytic poisons predominating, one out of five victims bitten is not severely poisoned.

How should a snakebite be handled? Well, first lay the patient down. Give him no alcohol and keep him as still as possible. If the bite is near an extremity, tie a band firmly on the side of the bite nearest the trunk of the body. This band should be tight enough to retard the blood flowing back through the veins to the body, but not so tight as to block the deep-lying vessels. Loosen the band for a minute and a half every 15 minutes.

Then get the patient to a doctor immediately, especially if you see large prominent teeth marks beside the circle or circles of small dents. This usually betrays a venomous snakebite. If possible, kill the snake and take it with you to help the doctor identify it.

Snakes Are Not All Bad

The few poisonous varieties of snakes tend to make people overlook the good qualities of these reptiles. For many, they are a source of food. Their skin can be useful for leather, and snake venom is used to produce anticoagulants and pain relievers. Possibly their greatest contribution is in rodent control. Rats and mice which damage vast amounts of foodstuffs are a prominent part of their diet.

Meanwhile, excavations continue at the ancient city of Intramuros. The diggers have uncovered many ancient chambers and tunnels. But you can be sure that, as they penetrate these links with the past, they remember the warning: Be careful, snakes!

Extracts courtesy of http://www.pythonsnake.net/

  • Guest
Re: SSssnakes..!
« Reply #1 on: June 12, 2008, 09:03:56 AM »
When we were living in Inagawan, during a peroid of very heavy rain, some cobras were washed down from the mountains in the swollen streams. We never saw any, but were told if we did to freeze and remain perfectly still and they would back down and move away. If you are going to kill them then that is the time to do it. Don\'t panic, some of them can move very fast. The only snakes we have seen are dead rice snakes and they are harmless. Especially when dead  ;D

Colin

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Re: SSssnakes..!
« Reply #2 on: June 12, 2008, 10:10:26 AM »
Don\'t know what kind, but a brown with a kelly green belly has been around here. One of our cats has caught and eaten one from the rice field behind us, (I have seen one in a tree also). When he comes back dirty, I know he\'s been on the hunt again.  ;D
B-Ray

Offline stillbilly2002

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Re: SSssnakes..!
« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2008, 11:51:45 PM »
thanks Colin,I will not be subjected to  the scorn of the forum members if I void myself(lose control of my bodily functions) while I am  frozen in place with a cobra looking at me at belt level?? Greywolf, please
 advise.billy :) also actually using spellcheck, thanks

Offline Gray Wolf

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Re: SSssnakes..!
« Reply #4 on: June 13, 2008, 12:04:01 AM »
thanks Colin,I will not be subjected to  the scorn of the forum members if I void myself(lose control of my bodily functions) while I am  frozen in place with a cobra looking at me at belt level?? Greywolf, please
 advise.billy :) also actually using spellcheck, thanks

Back away from the snake    ;D    You can clean yourself later   ;D ;D ;D

Louisville, KY USA - Bagong Silang, Caloocan City, PH

Offline stillbilly2002

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Re: SSssnakes..!
« Reply #5 on: June 13, 2008, 02:27:41 AM »
Understood. On a serious note keeping in the thread ,from mutual of Omahas wild kingdom,
i understand they can strike at you the length of their body. backing away is very good advice. Billy :)

Offline Gray Wolf

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Re: SSssnakes..!
« Reply #6 on: June 13, 2008, 03:04:47 AM »
Understood. On a serious note keeping in the thread ,from mutual of Omahas wild kingdom,
i understand they can strike at you the length of their body. backing away is very good advice. Billy :)

I\'m only an amateur herpetologist but the snakes with the longest strike range reach roughly 1/3 their total body length max.  A 6 foot snake would have roughly a 2 foot strike range.  But no sense being on the edge of that envelope!   ;D ;D   Keep well back!  ;)
   
Louisville, KY USA - Bagong Silang, Caloocan City, PH

Offline John Amend-All

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Re: SSssnakes..!
« Reply #7 on: June 13, 2008, 11:26:34 AM »
I hope this story is considered relevant. I have no reason to believe it is not true.

Many years ago I was working in Tanzania, East Africa. They have spitting cobras there, as well, going for the eyes. It was the fashion among ladies at that time to wear the portraits of leading politicians on their wraparound garments. A lady was cornered by one of these cobras and thought her hour had come. When she opened her eyes again she was ok but President Nyerere on her front had received a direct hit on his eyes.

I rather like the idea of having, say, Tony Blair getting gobbed on in my teeshirt.

John

Offline joestad

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Re: SSssnakes..!
« Reply #8 on: June 13, 2008, 12:05:32 PM »
Hi Guys
Firstly i am an Aussie and have a bit of training in first aid and snake bite treatment.

I have a couple of comments re this message.  The application of a tourniquet is NOT the recommended treatment in Australia.  However the Australian Immobilasition technique is not recommended in the US. (I dont know why not)  For reference I have enclosed the Australian recommended treatment below

Further you should NOT spend any time or effort to kill the snake unless absolutely safe to do so  It is not absolutely necessary to identify the type of snake for treatment

First Aid for Snake Bites:

Do NOT wash the area of the bite!

It is extremely important to retain traces of venom for use with venom identification kits!

Stop lymphatic spread - bandage firmly, splint and immobilise!

The \"pressure-immobilisation\" technique is currently recommended by the Australian Resuscitation Council, the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons and the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists.

The lymphatic system is responsible for systemic spread of most venoms. This can be reduced by the application of a firm bandage (as firm as you would put on a sprained ankle) over a folded pad placed over the bitten area. While firm, it should not be so tight that it stops blood flow to the limb or to congests the veins. Start bandaging directly over the bitten area, ensuing that the pressure over the bite is firm and even. If you have enough bandage you can extend towards more central parts of the body, to delay spread of any venom that has already started to move centrally. A pressure dressing should be applied even if the bite is on the victims trunk or torso.

Immobility is best attained by application of a splint or sling, using a bandage or whatever to hand to absolutely minimise all limb movement, reassurance and immobilisation (eg, putting the patient on a stretcher). Where possible, bring transportation to the patient (rather then vice versa). Don\'t allow the victim to walk or move a limb. Walking should be prevented.

The pressure-immobilisation approach is simple, safe and will not cause iatrogenic tissue damage (ie, from incision, injection, freezing or arterial torniquets - all of which are ineffective).

See the AVRU site for more details of bandaging techniques.

Bites to the head, neck, and back are a special problem - firm pressure should be applied locally if possible.

Removal of the bandage will be associated with rapid systemic spread. Hence ALWAYS wait until the patient is in a fully-equipped medical treatment area before bandage removal is attempted.

Do NOT cut or excise the area or apply an arterial torniquet! Both these measures are ineffective and may make the situation worse.


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Re: SSssnakes..!
« Reply #9 on: June 13, 2008, 02:28:22 PM »
Hi Guys
Firstly i am an Aussie


We won\'t hold that against you  ::) ;D ;D

Seriously, great info. One problem I forsee with it though. I doubt whether anyone would have a bandage, never mind one good enough for your technique. It is important that anyone bitten follows what the medical profession, whether US, Oz or anywhere else, agrees on.

This additional from
http://www.emedicinehealth.com/snakebite

A number of old first aid techniques have fallen out of favor. Medical research supports the following warnings:

    * Do NOT cut and suck. Cutting into the bite site can damage underlying organs, increase the risk of infection, and does not result in venom removal.

    * Do NOT use ice. Ice does not deactivate the venom and can cause frostbite.

    * Do NOT use electric shocks. The shocks are not effective and could cause burns or electrical problems to the heart.

    * Do NOT use alcohol. Alcohol may deaden the pain, but it also makes the local blood vessels bigger, which can increase venom absorption.

    * Do NOT use tourniquets or constriction bands. These have not been proven effective, may cause increased tissue damage, and could cost the victim a limb.


That noted these are the recommended steps you SHOULD take:

Take the following measures:

    * Prevent a second bite or a second victim. Snakes can continue to bite and inject venom with successive bites until they run out of venom.

    * Identify or be able to describe the snake, but only if it can be done without significant risk for a second bite or a second victim.

    * Safely and rapidly transport the victim to an emergency medical facility unless the snake has positively been identified as harmless (nonvenomous). Remember, misidentification could be fatal. A bite without initial symptoms can still be dangerous or even fatal.

    * Provide emergency medical care within the limits of your training.

          o Remove constricting items on the victim, such as rings or other jewelry, which could cut off blood flow if the bite area swells.

          o If you are in a remote area in which transport to an emergency medical facility will be prolonged, you should apply a splint to the affected limb. If you do apply a splint, remember to make sure the wound does not swell enough to make your splint a tourniquet, cutting off the blood flow. Check to make sure toes and fingers are still pink and warm, that the limb is not going numb, and that pain is not getting worse.

          o If you have been bitten by a dangerous elapid and have no major local wound effects, you may apply a pressure immobilizer. This technique is mainly used for Australian elapids or sea snakes. Wrap a bandage at the bite site and up the extremity with a pressure at which you would wrap a sprained ankle. Then immobilize the extremity with a splint, with the same precautions concerning limiting blood flow. This technique may help prevent life-threatening systemic effects of venom, but may also worsen local damage at the wound site if significant symptoms are present there.

          o While applying mechanical suction (such as with a Sawyer Extractor) has been recommended by many authorities in the past, it is highly unlikely that it will remove any significant amount of venom, and it is possible that suction could actually increase local tissue damage.
    *

    * The two guiding principles for care often conflict during evacuation from remote areas.
          o First, the victim should get to an emergency care facility as quickly as possible because antivenom (medicine to counteract the poisonous effects of the snake\'s venom) could be life-saving.

          o Second, the affected limb should be used as little as possible to delay absorption of the venom.

Offline falcon

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Re: SSssnakes..!
« Reply #10 on: June 14, 2008, 07:07:09 PM »
Helpful information..thanks!  I like reptiles myself and wonder if anyone has seen a good book on reptile species in the Philippines.  I managed to find a great one on birds in the Philippines (amazing variety believe it or not - dwindlng fast unfortunately - although I haven\'t seen many myself) got it on eBay but haven\'t seen anything on reptiles yet.

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Re: SSssnakes..!
« Reply #11 on: June 14, 2008, 08:15:14 PM »
Helpful information..thanks!  I like reptiles myself and wonder if anyone has seen a good book on reptile species in the Philippines.  I managed to find a great one on birds in the Philippines (amazing variety believe it or not - dwindlng fast unfortunately - although I haven\'t seen many myself) got it on eBay but haven\'t seen anything on reptiles yet.

Some months ago we went swimming in the river in the Iwahig prison colony, and they had run out of chickens so they cooked monitor lizard for me to try. It was all bones but what little meat there was tasted ok.  ;D They also had a young python that they passed around, it had fantastic patterns on its skin. We could have bought it for only a few hundred pesos.

Colin

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Re: SSssnakes..!
« Reply #12 on: June 15, 2008, 10:56:57 AM »
Birds of size in the Philippines is something I\'ve found lacking in many areas. I\'ve been told, the locals have eaten them over the years.

It\'s called survival!
B-Ray

Helpful information..thanks!  I like reptiles myself and wonder if anyone has seen a good book on reptile species in the Philippines.  I managed to find a great one on birds in the Philippines (amazing variety believe it or not - dwindlng fast unfortunately - although I haven\'t seen many myself) got it on eBay but haven\'t seen anything on reptiles yet.

Offline falcon

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Re: SSssnakes..!
« Reply #13 on: June 21, 2008, 11:14:53 PM »
Unfortunately, you\'re probably right....I\'ve done a few hikes around the hills and mountains of norther Negros over the years and really haven\'t seen that many birds - though I have heard more than I saw.  That said, I\'m absolutely sure I\'ve seen more species in my back-yard here in Perth...bit sad really.  Ecological disaster area...