Snake Venom!!

Snake Venom

Snake venom is a highly complex cocktail of proteins, peptides, non protein toxins, carbohydrates, lipids, amines and other molecules. The chemical composition of venom varies at all taxonomic levels. Further, composition can vary considerably between snakes in different geographical locations and individuals within those populations. The composition is also subject to change based on diet, age, season and environment. The widely differing manifestations of snake bite could be attributed to complexity of venom to some extent.

The snake venom mainly contains proteins (>90%, dry weight). There are more than hundred different proteins in each venom; with elapid and viperid venoms constituting 25-70% and 80-90% of enzymes respectively. Some non-enzymatic polypeptide toxins and non-toxic proteins are also present

The snake venoms are mainly characterized as neurotoxic and hemotoxic. The neurotoxic venoms act at molecular level, by disrupting the neuromuscular junctions, limiting muscle activity while hemotoxic venoms cause tissue destruction in body systems besides their effect on circulatory system.

The venom enzymes include hydrolases, hyaluronidase, kininogenase. Other enzymes include phosphomono-and diesterases, 5’-nucleotidase, DNAase, NAD-nucleosidase, l-amino acid oxidase, phospholipase A2(PLA2), peptidases and zinc metalloproteinase hemorrhagins. Blood clotting may be stimulated by serine proteases and other pro-coagulant enzymes present in some Elapid and Viperid venoms. Certain venoms contain toxins (Russell’s viper) that activate factors V, X, IX and XIII, fibrinolysis, protein C, platelet aggregation,anticoagulation and hemorrhage.

Widespread damage to mitochondria, red blood cells, leucocytes, platelets, peripheral nerve endings, skeletal muscle, vascular endothelium, and other membranes is caused due to phospholipase A2, the most widespread enzyme present in the venom. Hyaluronidase aids in venom dissemination from the bite site through tissues.




Precautions from Snake bite!

Precaution – 1

Learn which snakes may be native to the area you are visiting and familiarize yourself with their habits before you head out hiking or camping.When learning about the snakes in the area where you live or are visiting, become familiar with which ones are venomous and which are not. Again, while you certainly want to avoid all snake bites, you’ll want to understand the differences and urgency levels in treating both kinds of bites.


Precaution – 2

Avoid areas where there is tall grass and brush. Try to stay on trails or clear areas where you can see where you step. If you must go into tall grass or brush, use a long stick to probe the area before stepping into it.


Precaution – 3

Resist sticking a hand or foot into a crevasse or hole. Snakes often curl up in dark places like holes in fallen timber or in hidden spots among boulders. Avoid snake bites by looking carefully wherever you step or place your hand. This is especially true when rock climbing or exploring in caves.


Precaution – 4

Realize that snakes can climb trees. Be careful while walking under low hanging Branches, or when climbing up a tree as you could easily mistake a snake for a branch.


Precaution – 5

Dress in protective clothing when you are out in the wilderness. Wear heavy boots and long pants.


Precaution – 6

Make camp in areas where snakes are less likely to be. Don’t camp near large logs, rocky areas or tall grass. Snakes are usually nocturnal so you will want to be especially careful at night. Zip your tent up tightly and keep your boots or shoes inside with you. Sleep on a cot when possible. Use a flashlight to check inside shoes and the floor of the tent before you venture out at night to use the latrine or portable toilet.


Precaution – 7

Be cautious when swimming, wading or fishing in lakes or rivers, especially after heavy rains. Water snakes are venomous and you could be in dire need of help very quickly if bitten.


Precaution – 8

Ensure that your family and pets are protected from possible encounters with snakes around your home.

  • Keep your yard and adjacent property mowed. Trim hedges and clear brush to discourage snakes from taking up residence near your home.
  • Keep your children from playing in areas where snakes could be hiding. Discourage them from going to nearby vacant lots where there is high grass and brush.
  • Use an implement when gathering firewood from an outdoor stack or when working with brush or lumber.
  • Use extreme care in the summer during drought conditions. Snakes will seek water around your garden hose, swimming pool, or under your air conditioning unit.


Precaution – 99.jpg

Take precautions if you own a snake to avoid being bitten.

  • Most bites happen during feeding time. Use a snake hook to avoid having to grab your snake with your hands.
  • Choose a docile snake as a pet. Corn snakes and ball pythons have reputations as snakes that are reluctant to bite.

Don’t handle your snake after having touched prey, such as mice, while the scent is still on your hands

Precaution – 10

Use caution when approaching a snake you think might be dead. Recently killed snakes still can move reflexively and even bite. Also a snake may look dead, but simply be lying very still as it suns itself.




Precautions After Snake bite

  • Stay calm.
  • Treat for shock.
  • Drive to nearest hospital or medical facility.
  • Do not attempt to kill or capture the snake. It gives the snake another opportunity to bite.
  • Do not use a tourniquet. If tied too tight, it may cause the loss of a limb.
  • Do not make cuts through or near the site of the bite.
  • Do not try to suck venom from the site of the bite. You might have a tooth cavity or gum sore and this would place venom into that wound.
  • Do not allow anyone, including a physician, to administer antivenin to you UNLESS you have FIRST been tested to determine whether or not you are allergic to antivenin.