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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

about "Snakes of Dead" - India

Dangerous Venomous Snakes

This Region Has the Highest Number of Recorded Venomous Snake Bites and Fatalities in the World

There are a reported 250,000 estimated venomous snake bites per year in India. Of that number, it is estimated that there are at least 50,000 fatalities, or approximately 20% of the snake bite victims. The "Big Four" of venomous snakes in India Include the following:

1). Saw Scaled Viper

2). Russell's Viper

3). Common Krait

4). Indian (Spectacled) Cobra

These snakes are numerous and aggressive in the areas of India where they are found and are the most likely to bite. They tend to be attracted to agricultural areas, such as rice paddies, where they can find abundant food sources, such as rodents. The search for rodents also brings them into populated areas and on occasion into houses. These snakes are also big killers in other parts of South East Asia and pose a significant threat to agricultural workers, in particular.

India and other Asian countries now have much better medical treatment and antivenom available, but continue to suffer a high percentage of fatalities, due to continued reliance on folk medicine remedies and the length of time needed to get to a proper medical treatment center. Snakebites from these 4 snakes are so prevalent, that a common antivenom has been developed to treat the bites for all 4.

The Saw Scaled Viper

Aggressive, highly toxic venom and numerous in populated agricultural areas

1). Saw Scaled Viper (echis carinatus) - This snake is considered to be the world's most dangerous snake because of its highly virulent hematoxic venom, and its aggressive, easily excitable temperament. It is quick to strike and difficult to see, because of its camouflage coloration. They are abundant in many populated agricultural areas in India and South East Asia.

This snake is relatively small and averages between 12 and 24 inches. It produces a characteristic sound by coiling its body in parallel loops and rubbing the body sides together, producing a sharp sizzling sound. It moves quickly in a sidewinder fashion. A nocturnal hunter, it comes out in the early evening to hunt rodents, just as many agricultural workers are leaving the fields, barefoot, to walk home.

Saw Scaled Viper

Russell's Viper

Another Big Killer in India and Southeast Asia

2). Russell's Viper (Daboia russelii) -The venom of the Russell's viper can deliver 2 to 3 times the lethal venom dose and causes most of the snakebite fatalities in the areas where it occurs. This is a large snake with an average length of 2 to 4 feet (0.7 to 1.3 meters) The head is rather long, triangular, slightly distinct from neck, with large, conspicuous nostrils on side of snout. The Fangs are large and the tail short.

This snake is primarily a nocturnal hunter (especially during hot weather) and can be quite active at night. It usually hides in the shade of bushes and grass growing along paths, where due to its characteristic body color and pattern, it is difficult to see. It is also found near human dwellings searching for rodents. Can be very excitable, and will coil and hiss and may strike quickly without provocation. When it is excited, its body will vibrate and emit a low rasping sound resulting from scales rubbing together.

The typical systemic reaction to a serious bite of a Russell's viper is kidney breakdown. At that stage dialysis is essential to pull a victim through. Without fast medical treatment the bite of this snake is generally lethal.

The Common Krait

Quiet nighttime killer

3). The Krait - (Bungarus caeruleus)

The Krait bite is much less obvious and it is very difficult for people to know that they have been bitten at all. There may be no pain and no symptoms to be alarmed at; one may not take it seriously and go to hospital, especially in the middle of the night when most of such bites occur. So, unfortunately, the Krait bite is more often fatal than bites from the other three of the "Big Four".

Kraits usually range between 3 to 5 feet (1 to 1.5 m) in length. Most species of krait are covered in smooth glossy scales that are arranged in bold striped patterns of alternating black and light-colored areas. This gives the snake camouflage in its habitat of grassland and scrub jungle

All kraits are nocturnal hunters, and are more aggressive during the night. Although they tend to be more timid around humans, they are often encountered at night, in and around housing or agricultural areas and their neurotoxic venom is 16 times stronger than cobra venom. Krait venom is extremely powerful and quickly induces muscle paralysis. Any bite from a krait is life threatening and a medical emergency. Before antivenom was developed, there was an 85% mortality rate among bite victims.

The Indian Cobra

Revered and Protected

4). Indian Cobra, also known as Spectacled Cobra - (Naja naja)

Naja naja is a species of venomous snake native to the Indian subcontinent which includes present day Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and Sri lanka. It is the most famous of the Big Four, the four most venomous snakes of India for which a single polyvalent antivenin has been created. Like other cobras, it is famous for its threat display involving raising the front part of its body and spreading its hood. This snake is revered in Indian mythology and culture and is often seen with snake charmers. It is now protected in India under the Indian Wildlife Protection Act (1972).

Cobras normally feed on rodents, toads, frogs, birds and snakes. Their normal habitat includes open forest and farmland. They are however also able to thrive in cities, living on rodents in the sewers and underground drains.

The Indian cobra's venom contains a powerful post-synaptic neurotoxin. The venom acts on the synaptic gaps of the nerves, thereby paralyzing muscles, and possibly leading to respiratory failure or cardiac arrest. Symptoms of cobra envenomation can begin from 15 minutes to two hours after the bite, and can be fatal in less than an hour. Despite its fearsome reputation, only 10% of the bites in humans result in death.

Indian or Spectacled Cobra

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