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  1. #1
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    Bangladesh targets snake charmers

    Bangladesh targets snake charmers


    By Mark Dummett
    BBC News, Dhaka


    Traditional techniques are often used to treat snake bites in Bangladesh

    The Bangladesh health ministry has said it is planning to give new training to traditional healers and snake charmers.

    The move follows a survey by the ministry into snake bites, the largest ever undertaken.

    It found that 700,000 people are bitten each year by poisonous snakes, and that 6,000 people die from the bites.

    The doctors suggested many more Bangladeshis would survive snake bites if snake charmers received training in modern techniques.

    They found that only about 3% of snake bite victims are taken to hospital, to receive anti-venom, while the vast majority are treated by mystic healers, known as an Ojhas.

    By tradition, these men are snake experts - as well as looking after bite victims, they are paid to catch them, and perform snake-charming shows at festivals.

    They try to save bite victims by using techniques that are frowned upon by modern science - such as applying tourniquets, sucking out poison and massaging affected limbs.

    The survey reveals that most victims are bitten while walking in the countryside, or working in fields, but that 15% are attacked while sleeping at night.

    The most dangerous time of year is now, when during the annual monsoon, about half of Bangladesh disappears under water, and both snakes, and people - are forced to move to dry land.


  2. #2
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    Yeah, Yeah all too easy with a Cobra....like to see them try charming a Russells viper or any of the Pit viper family...they'd be running off to the hospital rather quickly.

    Cobra's are rather slow strikers indeed...a mate in Samui...was called to rescue a 5mtr King Cobra...which he did succesfully. Then we videoed the snake after in an enclosed area before freeing it in a mountainous area far from people.

    Quote Originally Posted by dirtydog
    They found that only about 3% of snake bite victims are taken to hospital, to receive anti-venom
    If you are given the wrong anti-venom that would kill you anyway!! many hospitals won't administer Serum unless a positive Id is made.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr R Sole View Post
    Yeah, Yeah all too easy with a Cobra....like to see them try charming a Russells viper or any of the Pit viper family
    Like tough guys, vipers don't dance. Not much entertainment in a guy playing a flute to a coiled up snake trying to bite him. . .or maybe I'm wrong about that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr R Sole View Post
    If you are given the wrong anti-venom that would kill you anyway!! many hospitals won't administer Serum unless a positive Id is made.
    The first thing I noticed entering an ER at hospital in the sticks was a snake ID chart on the wall just inside the door. I couldn't help but note the lack of inclusion of a number of exotic transplant species known to have terrorized Thai womanhood, such as the Dixie Black Snake (known to swim in from US Navy ships off Pattaya), the Japanese Mamushi (nicknamed the "4-4-4" because it is usually 4 cm long, wears glasses, and the bite hurts only for about 4 minutes), and of course, the infamous Pennsylvania Spitting Copperhead (which has been spotted in the area of Thonglor, and appears to be breeding).
    “You can lead a horticulture but you can’t make her think.” Dorothy Parker

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by robuzo
    Like tough guys, vipers don't dance. Not much entertainment in a guy playing a flute to a coiled up snake trying to bite him. . .or maybe I'm wrong about that.
    Yeah, sorry about that mate. I totally forgot about the 'entertainment value' not really for me. Much more exciting for me is to watch them in the wild, especially getting their pray.

    As for watching a guy with a flute having a Viper striking at him..not much fun..i beg to differ...I'd pay much more to see him within strike range and get away..no more flute player I'd guess...
    Malaysian Pit Viper. Shady little beasties these..Imagine this in some leaves, you'd never see it before it's too late..


    Quote Originally Posted by robuzo
    The first thing I noticed entering an ER at hospital in the sticks was a snake ID chart on the wall just inside the door. Damn that's a good hospital...where are you??
    I couldn't help but note the lack of inclusion of a number of exotic transplant species known to have terrorized Thai womanhood, such as the Dixie Black Snake (known to swim in from US Navy ships off Pattaya), the Japanese Mamushi (nicknamed the "4-4-4" because it is usually 4 cm long, wears glasses, and the bite hurts only for about 4 minutes), and of course, the infamous Pennsylvania Spitting Copperhead (which has been spotted in the area of Thonglor, and appears to be breeding).

    All sounds highly suspicious to me...Details please.. Photo's are better...

    Quote Originally Posted by robuzo
    Like tough guys, vipers don't dance.
    That's such a great line...Talent matey talent.

    Off topic a bit, but when a friend and I were in Chatuchak sometime ago we saw a baby Gaboon Viper for sale in this 'quaint shop'...We asked how many the guy had sold???
    he said that he had bought 12!!!! There were only I think 5 or 6 left in the tank..

    Astonished we asked the obvious question that did he know the grow to about 7ft long and have fangs exceeding 2inches!!! He said..."Yes"

    My friend and I were leaving Bangers very shortly with that new knowledge, as we all know What Thai's do with animals that they get bored off.....Put them out on the streets....

    Also being an exotic species, we did the decent thing and rang the serum place in Bangers..I forget the name of it..it was 5yrs ago..some red cross place that produces anti-venom...And guess what they don't stock that type of Anti-venom/serum only serum for species of poisonous Thai varieties...so that'll be fun for any owner of one of these gorgeous snakes. (suggestion...stick to watching them on TV..please)

    GABOON VIPERS free to roam in Bangers...Oh my good god. Bangkok already has problems with other animals, exotics and otherwise...hang on, there maybe a solution here....Can you see it as well??

  5. #5
    Member Kapilvastu's Avatar
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    A very interesting post D.D! Of course, snakebite if far from unknown in Thailand too. I wonder if we have any comparable statistics for here. I understand that we have three species of cobra, including the king cobra, and the Siamese spitting cobra, we have Malayan pit vipers, green pit vipers and three species of venomous kraits etc. I understand that snakes present a danger mostly to farmers and rubber tapers, but I have heard stories of people being bitten in semi rural areas. I heard, from a friend, about a farang woman being bitten in the foot, bye a Siamese cobra, on a residential estate somewhere on the land side of the Sukumvit in Pattaya. I would suppose that those members who live up country would be more aware of the dangers of snakebite, if any, in their communities.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr R Sole View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by robuzo
    The first thing I noticed entering an ER at hospital in the sticks was a snake ID chart on the wall just inside the door. Damn that's a good hospital...where are you??
    I couldn't help but note the lack of inclusion of a number of exotic transplant species known to have terrorized Thai womanhood, such as the Dixie Black Snake (known to swim in from US Navy ships off Pattaya), the Japanese Mamushi (nicknamed the "4-4-4" because it is usually 4 cm long, wears glasses, and the bite hurts only for about 4 minutes), and of course, the infamous Pennsylvania Spitting Copperhead (which has been spotted in the area of Thonglor, and appears to be breeding).

    All sounds highly suspicious to me...Details please.. Photo's are better...
    Gee, Mr. Sole, I didn't realize you swung that way . . .I have heard of the Lesser Essex Adder being spotted in the more disreputable part of Chonburi province- probably sneaked into Thailand hidden in a crate of marmalade.

    Quote Originally Posted by robuzo
    Like tough guys, vipers don't dance.
    Quote Originally Posted by Mr R Sole View Post
    That's such a great line...Talent matey talent.

    Off topic a bit, but when a friend and I were in Chatuchak sometime ago we saw a baby Gaboon Viper for sale in this 'quaint shop'...We asked how many the guy had sold???
    he said that he had bought 12!!!! There were only I think 5 or 6 left in the tank..

    Astonished we asked the obvious question that did he know the grow to about 7ft long and have fangs exceeding 2inches!!! He said..."Yes"

    My friend and I were leaving Bangers very shortly with that new knowledge, as we all know What Thai's do with animals that they get bored off.....Put them out on the streets....

    Also being an exotic species, we did the decent thing and rang the serum place in Bangers..I forget the name of it..it was 5yrs ago..some red cross place that produces anti-venom...And guess what they don't stock that type of Anti-venom/serum only serum for species of poisonous Thai varieties...so that'll be fun for any owner of one of these gorgeous snakes. (suggestion...stick to watching them on TV..please)

    GABOON VIPERS free to roam in Bangers...Oh my good god. Bangkok already has problems with other animals, exotics and otherwise...hang on, there maybe a solution here....Can you see it as well??
    Borrowed the "tough guys don't dance" line from a much-pilloried Norman Mailer novel of the same name.

    Gaboon vipers? I'm sure whoever just has to have one of those in their collection also needs a bushmaster and maybe a taipan or mamba to impress his friends. I have seen Russell's vipers for sale there, which I find puzzling, as well as the usual albino cobras and such. Many years ago I read an article about a boy who, no kidding, stole a Gaboon viper from the Philadelphia zoo. It didn't bite him until he was on the bus home. RIP (But the snake made it back to the zoo.)

    As I have mentioned three or four times in other threads, the only poisonous snake I've seen in Bangers is the white-lipped pit viper, and which I think counts for most bites in urban areas. Get bitten by something as interesting as a Gaboon viper and the last thing you see on Earth will likely be a team of flummoxed doctors.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kapilvastu View Post
    A very interesting post D.D! Of course, snakebite if far from unknown in Thailand too. I wonder if we have any comparable statistics for here. I understand that we have three species of cobra, including the king cobra, and the Siamese spitting cobra, we have Malayan pit vipers, green pit vipers and three species of venomous kraits etc. I understand that snakes present a danger mostly to farmers and rubber tapers, but I have heard stories of people being bitten in semi rural areas. I heard, from a friend, about a farang woman being bitten in the foot, bye a Siamese cobra, on a residential estate somewhere on the land side of the Sukumvit in Pattaya. I would suppose that those members who live up country would be more aware of the dangers of snakebite, if any, in their communities.
    Did you read the story, I think last year, about the guy in Korat who locked his wife in outhouse with a cobra (or otherwise got the snake to bite her)? He was convicted of murder because he took so long to get her to the hospital. According to the article, while a good number of people are bitten by cobras, very few die because hospitals and clinics are able to deal with it, and this made the cops suspicious. I guess the moral is better use a krait. . . or a Gaboon viper- maybe that's what they're sold for!

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    Member Kapilvastu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by robuzo
    Did you read the story, I think last year, about the guy in Korat who locked his wife in outhouse with a cobra (or otherwise got the snake to bite her)? He was convicted of murder because he took so long to get her to the hospital. According to the article, while a good number of people are bitten by cobras, very few die because hospitals and clinics are able to deal with it, and this made the cops suspicious. I guess the moral is better use a krait. . . or a Gaboon viper- maybe that's what they're sold for! robuzo is offline Add to robuzo's Reputation Report Post
    Quote Originally Posted by robuzo
    Did you read the story, I think last year, about the guy in Korat who locked his wife in outhouse with a cobra (or otherwise got the snake to bite her)? He was convicted of murder because he took so long to get her to the hospital. According to the article, while a good number of people are bitten by cobras, very few die because hospitals and clinics are able to deal with it, and this made the cops suspicious. I guess the moral is better use a krait. . . or a Gaboon viper- maybe that's what they're sold for! robuzo is offline Add to robuzo's Reputation Report Post
    This site is so useful. If ever I wanted to get rid of a wife, I have learned, not only which snake to use, but also where to get one. What other site could do that?

  9. #9
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    What's up with that picture? Looks like a Japanese facial party.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by robuzo
    Gee, Mr. Sole, I didn't realize you swung that way . . .I have heard of the Lesser Essex Adder being spotted in the more disreputable part of Chonburi province- probably sneaked into Thailand hidden in a crate of marmalade.
    like this one? and did he look like this by any chance???
    Think I've seen him about you know. Should I inform the authorities?


    Quote Originally Posted by robuzo
    the only poisonous snake I've seen in Bangers is the white-lipped pit viper, and which I think counts for most bites in urban areas. Get bitten by something as interesting as a Gaboon viper and the last thing you see on Earth will likely be a team of flummoxed doctors.
    White lipped Pit Viper eh!!! Did't think they'd like that environment... then again I suppose there is plenty to eat there.

    I do have one more question from the original picture on the thread. What the hell is that all over the Cobras head??? A worrying colour for sure, did the 'Charmer' get too excited???

    Another sad fact is that many of the cobras have their teeth removed to make sure that the 'charmer' (and what a charmer he is for doing that!!) can't get invenomated...Brave chap.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr R Sole View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by robuzo
    the only poisonous snake I've seen in Bangers is the white-lipped pit viper, and which I think counts for most bites in urban areas. Get bitten by something as interesting as a Gaboon viper and the last thing you see on Earth will likely be a team of flummoxed doctors.
    White lipped Pit Viper eh!!! Did't think they'd like that environment... then again I suppose there is plenty to eat there.

    I do have one more question from the original picture on the thread. What the hell is that all over the Cobras head??? A worrying colour for sure, did the 'Charmer' get too excited???

    Another sad fact is that many of the cobras have their teeth removed to make sure that the 'charmer' (and what a charmer he is for doing that!!) can't get invenomated...Brave chap.
    Did I actually write "counts for"? "Accounts for," sheesh. Anyway, the WLP viper I saw was late at night on a well-traveled footpath behind Huay Kwang MTR station- behind Caesar's, actually, which I think is also a haunt of a species of disreputable reptile. He was just coiled up there, waiting in ambush for a rodent or something warm to pass in front of him, like a sandaled foot. Small, maybe 20 cm, very pretty. I tried to get him to strike at a stick, but he wasn't falling for it. I nudged him away from the path, and he crawled off into an abandoned shack. It was very near this place on a separate occasion that I also saw sunbeam snake, and on yet another night was targeted by three boys on two motorbikes who thought they wanted my dough, but later slithered away deciding they didn't want it that badly. Which is to say, it is good to watch where you are walking late at night in some parts of this town.

    The stuff being poured over the poor cobra's head? Let me venture a guess that the "charmers" are Hindus, the substance is milk, and the cobra is being subjected to some kind of Hindu-hoodoo.

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