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Thread: Snake bite

  1. #1
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    Snake bite

    I'm away at work at the moment and two days ago was woken up while off shift by the Offshore Manager saying I'd had a phone call and needed to call home immediately. This isn't a nice situation of course and a lot of stuff goes through your head before making that phone call.

    Anyway, made contact with the wife and she was at the hospital with my daughter who had been bitten by a snake. It seems she was running around the garden in the evening playing with the dogs when she kicked a bag, and there was a little green snake hiding underneath. It bit her on the side of her heel. Unfortunately the snake disappeared in the ensuing panic but after talking to the wife it was a pit viper, almost definitely a white-lipped pit viper. We have had several of these in the garden in the past. (First rule after a snake bite - kill and take the snake to hospital with you for identification for correct anti-venom. But these days I would think a good photo would suffice).

    I'm writing this two days later in the comfort of knowing that she's made a good recovery, but at the time there was huge worry and talk of me getting evacuated off the boat to get home. These pit vipers are nasty little snakes and their bites can be fatal, although rarely. Even with no initial bad initial reaction, infection / necrosis is a huge worry because the venom can start killing the flesh around the bite, which can lead to gangrene (the venom of pit vipers kind of starts to pre-digest the prey to help the snake digest it later when swallowed whole).

    My daughter was put on a drip with antibiotics to combat any infection and put under observation for potential infection/necrosis. Anti-venom was at hand but I'm not sure that it was administered. Apparently it can cause bad reactions so is only used if considered necessary, ie the wound is going bad. I'm a bit vague on this - I spoke to the doctor but couldn't really understand what she was saying.

    It also seems (from Google) that around 30% of pit viper bites are 'dry bites', meaning that no venom is injected. The snakes like to conserved their venom if possible and also, as my daughter was running at the time, maybe no time for the snake to get a good bite in.

    Thankfully all is now good. No sign of necrosis and even talk of going home, although an extra day of observation 'just in case' doesn't seem like a bad plan. Besides, the hospital knows there is insurance so I'm sure will try and get another day out of it, if possible.

    The bite. The two fang marks on the side of my daughter's heel.



    The ankle all swelled up.


  2. #2
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    All's well that ends well.

    Donuts seem to cure most things.


  3. #3
    Thailand Expat AntRobertson's Avatar
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    Crikey, that's a bit scary glad it all turned out Ok though.

    We've had the odd cobra around at our place but the one that bothered me most was a small and thin snake I saw that disappeared under the grass matting/roots.

    That's the one that my (then much younger) kids would've likely to have trodden or or disturbed. It probably wasn't venomous either but still...

  4. #4
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    Thankfully she is OK mate.

    A bit strange though as dogs seem to clear the property of such pests.

    Anyway I hope the recovery continues.

  5. #5
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    Glad it all turned out well. Funny coincidence that just a couple of days ago you posted a pic of her with a guy holding a snake that you'd caught.

  6. #6
    Thailand Expat Dillinger's Avatar
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    Aww bless her.

    Sounds like just a warning shot and lucky because their poison is far more potent than a cobras and it has to be to stop their prey getting very far, whereas a cobra will inject a lot more into you

    Get your Missus or someone to go round that garden and move anything where snakes can hide out. Bags, woodpiles etc.

    Get well soon little un.

  7. #7
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    As I mentioned, this was almost certainly a white-lipped pit viper. My wife knows a bit about snakes and we've had plenty of these in the garden before.

    We try and keep the grass short and limit their hiding places but a snake can just disappear with very little cover. Our garden is completely walled in but the snakes still get in. There's gates at the front and back and also I think they drop in off overhanging tree branches. I need to look at that when I get home.

    I don't know why we get so many snakes. We have a pond so maybe the frogs that the pond attracts brings the snakes in for food. Also we keep chickens, so there are usually some mice about.

    I always get rid of dangerous snakes. Usually they stay in our snake house a few days before going to Korat zoo. There is a whole community of pit vipers at the zoo from our garden.

    I don't encourage the snakes and have taught my daughter to stay away from them, even if she's sure that one is harmless. I like her to be interested but respectful. I also don't want her turning into someone who kills every snake she sees regardless of species. Very few are venomous and most of them are very easy to safely remove.

    The snake in question... a previous white-lipped pit viper. Watch out for these, they are nasty.



    My daughter observing said snake in our snake house. Not sure she will show such an interest in the future...


  8. #8
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    Thanks for the good wishes.

    She's making a good recovery and already talking of a special present from daddy when he gets home!

    With bigger snakes, the dogs tend to surround them and bark until I do something about it. These little pit vipers are slow moving and I guess the dogs hadn't seen it.

    A few years ago one of our dogs did kill one of these, although she was very lucky not to get bitten.

  9. #9
    Thailand Expat Dillinger's Avatar
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    .Diet

    Its meals consist of birds, small frogs, and small mammals. This snake doesn't strike and release its prey; like many arboreal snakes, it strikes and holds on to the prey item until it dies
    Just a warning strike. They can be fatal though it says, but rarely.

  10. #10
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    Hope your daughter heals up fine, Mendip. We get a few different types of snakes in our place in Rayong. Mostly Rat Snakes, Golden tree, and the occasional Cobra.

    Walls are no problem for most snakes, btw.


  11. #11
    Thailand Expat Dillinger's Avatar
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    Reminds me of my old Nokia

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    ^ Many thanks. She seems to be doing very well now. A warning for us all.

    Its amazing how snakes can climb walls. I've had a few large rat snakes and some tree snakes escape from our snake house by climbing up the sides, much to my wife's horror. I've been meaning to fix the roof with some fine wire mesh but never seem to find the time. I guess this latest episode will motivate me. Although to be honest I'm not too bothered about having non-venomous snakes around the garden, and the pit vipers don't climb walls and never escape. They just seem to stay on the ground and wait to get stood on.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mendip View Post
    With bigger snakes, the dogs tend to surround them and bark until I do something about it.
    I have 4 dogs and 3 will keep their distance and bark and the Pit Bull/ Bull Mastif just attacks.

    I also worry that he will get bitten but up until today he has managed to steer clear of the fangs. And he kills snakes on a weekly bases as we live on a klong.

    Seems he can also smell the snakes when hidden.

    Laying down lime and other deterrents might be an idea to keep the snakes off your property.

  14. #14
    Thailand Expat Dillinger's Avatar
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    Get a king cobra in your snake house. That should keep em away

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    ^^^That's the viper MO, concealed under grass or leaves waiting for something to approach. No wasted energy, and strong venom to not let their prey get too far after a bite.
    The Malayan Pit Viper, Russel's Viper, and particularly the Saw Scaled Viper cause a lot of fatalities in Asia, thankfully not all that common in Thailand.

  16. #16
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    Yikes. That would have had me doing my nut. Glad the little one is ok.

  17. #17
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    Never had a cobra in the garden, to my knowledge. That is one snake I wouldn't tackle. You can call the rescue guys around our way and they'll come and take a cobra away for you, very efficiently.

    That's reminded me of something that happened a couple of years ago, and I've a couple of photos...

    One evening the old lady opposite was jumping up and down outside our gate and squawking away. I couldn't understand what she was saying but it was clear she wanted me to follow her. So she led me into her back room and there was this curled up in the corner... a beautiful Burmese python.



    She knows I like messing with snakes and was hoping I'd remove it from her house.

    This was way too big for my trusty snake tongs so we ended up calling a rescue guy. He struggled a bit but eventually we got it into a sack and he took it away. Must have been about 2.5m I would say. They're not venomous but are incredibly strong and will give you a very nasty bite. It seems that this one was trying to have a nap while digesting one of the old lady's kittens that had recently disappeared.


  18. #18
    Thailand Expat Dillinger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mendip View Post
    Must have been about 2.5m I would say
    That's a juvenile one

  19. #19
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    I thought pit vipers were more or less exclusive to the south. At least that's what I told myself while harvesting several dozen hectares of corn. We had an Indochinese Spitting Cobra infestation at the farmhouse but they generally yielded to the presence of the all-powerful senor slap.

    Must've been a little concerning to say the least, well done Mendip minor, got to show these slippery sods who the boss is.

    Top tip: move back to the Mendips, you might have to veer from the path of the occasional bumblebee, but pit vipers are delightfully lacking.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mendip View Post
    ^ Many thanks. She seems to be doing very well now. A warning for us all..
    Mendip that must have been quite a worry, so far away too. Ref the snake thing, the old adage about snakes and a food source seems universally true so there must be quite a lot of pray for you to have so many and as you say it could be the pond. Has this close escape changed your view on keeping the pond?, I know you are relatively comfortable around snakes but that bite would have me filling the pond in.

  21. #21
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    NamPikToot, that is a very good point and I'm sure the pond is at least partly responsible for attracting snakes. I hadn't previously considered filling it in but my daughter's safety is paramount.

    The pond is a project that got out of hand a few years ago. Its about 20m diameter, up to 5ft deep and concrete lined. Now its full of tilapia (pla nin and pla tabtim) up to around 1kg weight and I've caught a catfish of 5.5kg. I go on fishing expeditions with my daughter to the bottom of the garden and we catch the fish with a rod and line and then cook them up. I even built a waterfall.

    So you can see filling it in would be a major operation.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mendip View Post
    I hadn't previously considered filling it in but my daughter's safety is paramount. .
    I am a wildlife lover too and would try to avoid harming anything if at all possible and i think its great teaching your daughter about wildlife and respecting it but I just think the risk if potentially too high. You could scale the pond down rather than remove it all together and still benefit from the frogs toads and wildlife it attracts and hopefully reduce the snake count as a result

  23. #23
    Member Bettyboo's Avatar
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    Glad the little one is ok.

    A mating pair of geese will protect the chickens and keep snakes away.

    In Nakhon Nowhere, the most common snake is the spitting cobra. Often blinding the dogs (and the FiL a couple fo times) although they usually recover sight after a week or two (not always...). The bangkeow mix dogs are the best snake hunters, the wife's aunt has a huge dog, half bangkeow, almost great dane size, so not sure what the other half was, and it kills a couple of cobras a week (she has a lot of chickens).
    How do I post these pictures???

  24. #24
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    My daughter's foot this morning - and what a perfect foot it is!

    The swelling has gone down and no sign of necrosis, a huge relief. Looks like the nurses have cleaned the ingrained dirt as well, so that can't be bad - I hope they did the other one as well!

    She will be on her way home later today once she's finished the last antibiotic drip and the insurance pays the bill (it's huge).

    As usual the insurance is taking an awful long time to sort out. I hope there's no problem or my girl won't be seeing much pocket money for the next 15 years.

    Thanks for all the best wishes!


  25. #25
    Days Work Done! Norton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mendip View Post
    The swelling has gone down and no sign of necrosis, a huge relief.
    Good news for all. Sounds your girl is adventurous so will not be the last time something happens. All part of growing up. Lessons learned.

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