DISCLAIMER: THE WRHA DOES NOT ADVOCATE THE KEEPING AND HANDLING OF VENOMOUS SNAKES BY PERSONS YOUNGER THAN 18 YEARS OF AGE OR INEXPERIENCED SNAKE KEEPERS
Correct Tools Used To Handle Venomous Snakes
Considerations to make before handling a venomous snake in the field
Have you correctly identified the snake?
How toxic is the venom of the snake you want to handle?
How aggressive is the species you are going to handle?
How big is the snake? ( it is easier to handle a smaller snake and the smaller the snake the less venom it can produce)
Is there antivenom available in the area?
Do you or someone with you have knowledge of snake bite first aid?
How far away is the nearest hospital and do the resident doctors know how to treat snake bites?
Have you got the correct equipment such as snake hooks and snake tongs and do you know how to use them properly?
Find out if there is any legislation in regards to handling venomous snakes ( catch & release permits)
Do you have someone with you who can handle venomous snakes to help if needed?
Are there onlookers who could get bitten? ( legal implications if someone is bitten)
What is the reason for handling the snake? ( Scientific Research, Problem Animal removal are valid reasons. Photos can be taken at a distance or under controlled conditions. Showing off to friends is not a valid reason.
Do not attempt to handle a venomous snake if you have been drinking, taking medication which cause drowsiness, using illegal drugs or if you have sleep deprivation.
UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES FREE HANDLE A VENOMOUS SNAKE
Possible Outcome if you are bitten while handling a venomous snake
A dry bite where no venom is injected. Consider yourself lucky
The bite is non-lethal but causes extreme pain, swelling and tissue damage ( cytotoxic venom)
The bite is non-lethal but causes extreme pain, swelling and tissue necrosis which causes amputation of a finger, permanent nerve damage, loss of mobility and kidney problems ( cytotoxic venom)
The bite is non-lethal but causes mild effects on the nervous system such as blinking, swallowing problems, drowsiness, increased blood pressure, nausea, blurry vision and problems breathing. ( neurotoxic venom)
The bite causes severe neurological problems and anti venom is required.Aartificial respiration may be necessary ( neurotoxic venom)
Bite is severe patient is treated with anti venom and specialized medical care and the patient survives.
The bite causes severe health problems affecting internal organs or septic shock resulting from secondary infection due to necrotic tissue and patient dies.