Imagine this: you set up camp in the grasslands. The landscape is exhilarating. You cannot stand still for a second because everything seems to take your breath away, so you feel a deep desire to explore.
You reach the base of a steep cliff and start gazing at the sun, eyes closed. A serene feeling takes over you as you listen to the buzz of the numerous insects surrounding you.
Suddenly a sharp pinch brings you with your feet on the ground. You move your head around in a desperate attempt to understand what just happened. There’s nothing to your left, but as you glance to your right, a slithering tail vanishes into the tall grass.
You look at your foot and discover a dotted pattern on a reddish section of your skin. You realize that you’ve been bitten by a snake.
The adrenaline is making you resist the pain. But it will soon wear off and you need to know if the bite was venomous.
It would be unwise to look for the snake in the grass, as you would risk a subsequent bite. Without panicking too much you try to assess the situation.
From your previous survival research, you know that there are several details of a snake’s bite which show if the critter was venomous or not.
Distinctive Snake Bites
- Just as the picture shows, a nonvenomous snake would leave a mark comprised of several small protrusions in a row. Due to its small teeth, all cavities should be of equal size.
- Unlike their harmless peers, the venomous snake’s bite will leave 2 to 4 distinctive fang marks. So besides the small cavities left by its small teeth, there should also be up to 4 larger cavities from its larger fangs.
- A venomous bite would also render more blood due to the bigger fangs penetrating deeper into your tissue. The venom is also known to cause hemorrhage as a side effect.
- If a venomous snake bites you, the afflicted area will experience severe swelling within 10 to 15 minutes. Although not usually the case, a bite from a dangerous snake specimen will likely cut off blood flow through the affected limb. In this extreme case, you will require immediate surgical intervention to release the blockage.
If a nonvenomous snake specimen bites you, there will be no consistent harm done other than your initial scare. On the other hand, the bite of a venomous specimen can become lethal.
Here are some other tips hinting at a venomous act:
- Your tongue feels numb and there’s a persistent metallic taste in your mouth.
- You experience intense pain immediately after the bite, usually a burning type of pain.
- The wounded area (or sometimes your entire body) feels itchy.
- You experience abnormal perspiration.
If you suffer from anxiety, the itching and sweating symptoms could be a side effect of your condition. To rule that out, you can simply try to relax by breathing in and out deeply, or by breathing into a paper bag if available.
If all signs point towards a venomous bite, then you better seek help immediately. You will have a limited timeframe to reach a hospital until the venom starts doing harm to your body.
If none of the above symptoms apply, then you will be safe and sound. Just clean the wound and wait a few days for it to heal.
Hope this information will be of use to you. If you find it so, don’t forget to share it with your backpacker friends.