Boomslang Bites three?

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Boomslang Bites three?

Postby phish » Mon Feb 15, 2010 4:37 pm

I spotted this on news 24, anyone know how three people manged to get bitten by the same snake?

http://www.news24.com/Content/SouthAfrica/News/1059/89ff52a5cbc34715a3b3847d96e735fb/15-02-2010-03-23/Dont_handle_snakes_-_experts

Don't handle snakes - experts
2010-02-15 15:23

Johannesburg - Experts have warned people not to handle snakes even if they think they are harmless.

Professor Ken Boffard of Milpark Hospital's trauma unit in Johannesburg said on Monday: "In the wake of an incident in which three people were bitten by a highly toxic boomslang recently, people [are warned] not to handle snakes even if they consider them unthreatening and non-toxic."

The three - two local men and a woman tourist from Germany - were bitten by a boomslang near Zeerust in North West on February 6 and had all handled the snake.

They were transported, one by air, to the hospital in Johannesburg and treated with boomslang serum.

Boffard said they were discharged after a three-day stay, said Boffard.

"These victims of the boomslang, which was a juvenile, were exceptionally lucky that their bites were not more serious.

"While exceptionally toxic, the boomslang's venom is very slow acting, which probably counted in the victims' favour," said Boffard.

A snake expert and division chief at the Johannesburg City Council's paramedic training academy, Malcolm Midgley, said a boomslang's bite could be fatal.

"The boomslang is usually very timid and live in trees and it is unusual for them to bite people.

"They usually only do so if they are handled or intimidated.

"If the people had left the snake alone it is highly unlikely they would have had a problem," said Midgley.

Boffard said snakes were quite prevalent at the moment because the unusually heavy rains in certain areas had helped to distribute them more widely than usual.

"Snakes are often not easy to identify, especially as some can vary in colour between the sexes and between juveniles and adults.

"Even in this case the snake was initially incorrectly identified as a vine snake, but experts later identified it as a juvenile boomslang from photographs of the snake taken by the victims."

Boffard said South Africa had several venomous snakes including the Cape cobra, spitting cobra, puff and night adders, black and green mambas, stiletto snake and others.

"All bites should be treated as a medical emergency as one can usually not be certain if the bite was from a venomous snake.

"Bites by snakes that are considered non-venomous can cause infection or allergic reaction," he said.


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Re: Boomslang Bites three?

Postby WW » Mon Feb 15, 2010 4:50 pm

"Even in this case the snake was initially incorrectly identified as a vine snake, but experts later identified it as a juvenile boomslang from photographs of the snake taken by the victims."


Only a vine snake? Oh, that's OK then. Who needs antivenom anyway, when they are bleeding from every orifice...?
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Re: Boomslang Bites three?

Postby LeglessDragon » Mon Feb 15, 2010 5:12 pm

-shaking head and hitting face with palm of her hand- People...
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Re: Boomslang Bites three?

Postby phish » Mon Feb 15, 2010 5:23 pm

WW wrote:
"Even in this case the snake was initially incorrectly identified as a vine snake, but experts later identified it as a juvenile boomslang from photographs of the snake taken by the victims."


Only a vine snake? Oh, that's OK then. Who needs antivenom anyway, when they are bleeding from every orifice...?


There is no antivenom for vine snakes afaik - treatment is symptomatic. I think the point he is making is that they were not receiving the correct treatment (antivenom), because they had incorrectly identified the snake as a vine snake. Whether doctors should have been basing their treatment on the victims (tourists) identification is another thing entirely :o
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Re: Boomslang Bites three?

Postby WW » Mon Feb 15, 2010 6:09 pm

phish wrote:
WW wrote:
"Even in this case the snake was initially incorrectly identified as a vine snake, but experts later identified it as a juvenile boomslang from photographs of the snake taken by the victims."


Only a vine snake? Oh, that's OK then. Who needs antivenom anyway, when they are bleeding from every orifice...?


There is no antivenom for vine snakes afaik - treatment is symptomatic.


That was my point - in a twisted kind of way, they were better off playing with a boomslang than a vine snake for that very reason ;)
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Re: Boomslang Bites three?

Postby phish » Mon Feb 15, 2010 7:37 pm

hehe, true ... i would still like to know how all three got tagged? ;-)
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Re: Boomslang Bites three?

Postby froot » Mon Feb 15, 2010 8:23 pm

They were bitten on the 6 feb, this article was posted on the 15th feb. I wonder about the timeline of events, like how long after the bites did they reckon they were in trouble and so on. From the article it seems that Prof. Boffard knows what he is talking about. Quite refreshing IMO, Milpark may be a good choice of hospital.
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Re: Boomslang Bites three?

Postby Bushviper » Tue Feb 16, 2010 9:03 am

The time line is because you have to apply in writing a week before a boomslang will actually bite you. You have to be a special kind of stupid to get bitten by a boomslang as they warn and mock bite before actually engaging the fangs.

It takes days to kill you so why the helicopter? My guess is that the German had a better insurance. Zeerust is a few hours drive even in a land rover!

Two local men and one German girl makes me think someone was showing off and the "measuring contest" went wrong. I would love to see what photos they were posing for before the day went pear shaped for them.
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Re: Boomslang Bites three?

Postby dendroaspis » Tue Feb 16, 2010 10:06 am

I have always been of the opinion that if you get bit by a Boomslang you should never be allowed near anything resembling an animal with scales. To get three bites in quick succession takes a very special group of people to achieve.
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Re: Boomslang Bites three?

Postby Colinh » Tue Feb 16, 2010 10:34 am

Sorry guys not antivenon for stupidity. if you do not know ask (refer to BV "Those who are afraid to ask are ashamed of learning")
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Re: Boomslang Bites three?

Postby Bushviper » Tue Feb 16, 2010 5:38 pm

Okay it is ironic that just after this warning today one of our members (who is less active now) is on his way to hospital after being bitten by a ........ boomslang. Yip I have just been called by the medical personnel who are transporting Serpy to Pretoria academic hospital. We have confirmed that they have boomslang antivenom available and will be prepared for his arrival.

The boomslang is question are the "tame" ones Nattie used for his sit-in. It happens in an instant! Be careful out there guys.
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Re: Boomslang Bites three?

Postby Mitton » Tue Feb 16, 2010 6:35 pm

Ai, all the best Serpy, hope it is not too bad.
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Re: Boomslang Bites three?

Postby Long John Silver » Tue Feb 16, 2010 7:09 pm

Serpy Boet, hope you get well soon.
Please keep us posted BV

And PS, thanks for everything you and Bushbaby are doing for the herping community. I'm sure that one day these unselfish deeds will be rewarded.
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Re: Boomslang Bites three?

Postby Colinh » Tue Feb 16, 2010 7:52 pm

Yes, thanks BV for doing so much and sometimes (or perhaps all the time) being in the firing line for us or to save a fellow herpers life. No harm intended but may I put a different spin ons this topic? BV taught us no permits for venomous snakes without training (ID and snake bite treatment and handling). The past couple of weeks we have seen/heard of several snake bites and yes some were very experienced keepers and handlers. This is a concern to me as I know of several people keeping venomous reptiles with no knowledge of how to handle them the husbandry or a bite protocol. The question is will this not have the government starting to focus on the herp keepers as every bite ends up in the media?
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Re: Boomslang Bites three?

Postby gaboon69 » Tue Feb 16, 2010 9:26 pm

Hope you get better soon Rowman. Its ironic that BV and I had a talk about boomslang bite 48 hours ago after having a peek at the fangs on neonates.
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