Colubrid Bites

Snakes exotic to South Africa commonly known as non-venomous.

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Colubrid Bites

Postby LaurenceG » Tue Dec 16, 2008 3:11 pm

Hi,

My name is Laurence Goosey. I am currently working with Wolfgang Wüster on my third year dissertation project at Bangor University. I have designed and created a survey intended to expand our breadth of knowledge of snakes as a community.

Colubrids are very popular reptiles as pets (I keep several myself). Due to this, bites occur frequently within the herpetoculture community. Recent research indicates that most genera of colubrids are technically venomous. However, it has yet to be investigated to what effect colubrid bites generally have on humans. Occasionally random bite reports surface where nasty symptoms were recorded, but this is most likely NOT the case with the vast majority of bites. My survey on this topic hopes to expose the extent to which colubrids are of medical importance to us as herpetoculturists.

For this I need your help.

I would ask that anyone who has received a bite from any colubrid (with the exception of North American Rat Snakes and King Snakes – which have evolved to lose their venom) to click on the link to this survey and take a few moments to fill it out for the bites you have received.

I will post the principal conclusions online for the herpetoculture community to access once I have finished my Hons Thesis around April/May.

Your help is much appreciated.

Cheers,

Laurence

http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=G ... WFaQ_3d_3d
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Re: Colubrid Bites

Postby Sico » Tue Dec 16, 2008 3:16 pm

dude, why so many posts? isn't it all the same survey?
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Re: Colubrid Bites

Postby Bushviper » Tue Dec 16, 2008 4:58 pm

Sico it encompasses 3 different groups of snakes and I think he is worried some people might only log in and keep tabs on certain threads.
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Re: Colubrid Bites

Postby Sico » Tue Dec 16, 2008 5:33 pm

ah thanks BV. makes sense, cos they seemed like the same ones posted yesterday...which i already answered unfortunately. thrice bitten four time shy hopefully :P
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Re: Colubrid Bites

Postby WW » Tue Dec 16, 2008 6:54 pm

Thanks very much to everyone who has taken part in the survey.

Please remember that we are just as interested in bites with trivial or no symptoms! They help put the entire issue into perspective, which is one of the major aims of the survey.

Cheers,

WW
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Re: Colubrid Bites

Postby rolandslf » Mon Mar 09, 2009 1:23 pm

I don't know if this counts, but here are a few Pics' of my Taiwanese Rat Snake Bite.
I must add, totally no side effects at all. Didn't even put any antiseptic cream on it.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Cheers
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Re: Colubrid Bites

Postby LaurenceG » Wed Jun 17, 2009 3:48 pm

Medical Importance of Venomous Colubrids: Comparative Study of Colubrid and Viperid Bite Experiences

(Apologies for the delay in posting these conclusions)

Principal Conclusions:
• Most people underestimate the bite of colubrids, and many were caught unawares by medically important bites.
• The average colubrid bite is fairly insignificant in comparison to that of the average viperid bite (based on bites from Agkistrodon contortrix, Vipera ammodytes, V. aspis and V. berus).

The following genera and their medical importance are based on evidence shown within this study:

• Genera reported to have inflicted medically important bites are: Boiga, Chrysopelea, Dispholidus, Heterodon, Macropisthodon, Nerodia (potentially at least from some populations), Psammophis and Rhabdophis.
Bites were received from these genera that surpassed the average viperid bite severity.
Herpetologists/herpetoculturists would do well to use caution when dealing with species of the aforementioned genera. Suitable precautions could consist of as little as covering exposed skin, e.g. long sleeves and gardening gloves (t-shirts, shorts and sandals do not offer the best protection).

• Genera that also stand out as being of potential medical importance, but from which bites were NOT received that surpassed the average viperid bite severity, are: Crotaphopeltis, Hydrodynastes, Ialtris, Oxybelis, Philodryas and Thamnodynastes.
Bites were received from these genera that clearly caused significant symptoms but did not surpass the average viperid bite severity.

• Genera reported to have inflicted mild envenoming of mostly trivial medical importance, but stood out from the bulk of trivial colubrid genera, are: Ahaetulla, Coluber, Coronella, Leioheterodon, Leptophis, Liophis, Malpolon, Orthriophis, Rhadinophis and Thamnophis.
Bites were received from these genera that did not cause major symptoms, but stood out from the bulk of trivial colubrid genera, being of slight medical importance.

• Genera reported to inflict mild envenoming of no real medical importance are: Amphiesma, Coniophanes, Elaphe, Gonyosoma, Helicops, Hemorrhois, Hypsiglena, Lamprophis, Leptodeira, Masticophis, Orthriophis, Philothamnus, Platyceps, Psammophylax, Spilotes, Telescopus, Trimorphodon and Zamenis.
Bites that were received from these genera showed only trivial symptoms (very mild swelling, redness, itching, etc). It seems likely that many of these genera lack the venom quantity, venom delivery and/or venom potency to cause medically significant bites. Despite this, significant caution would be well advised, particularly around aggressive, large snakes of these genera. Covering exposed skin would likely be adequate protection.

• Genera from which bites, but no envenomations, were received are: Cerberus, Chironius, Coelognathus, Conophis, Diadophis, Dipsadoboa, Dolichophis, Drymarchon, Enhydris, Hierophis, Liochlorophis, Lycodon, Mastigodryas, Natrix, Pseudaspis, Pseustes, Spalerosophis, Stegonotus, Storeria, Thrasops, Tomodon, Waglerophis and Xenochrophis.
Bites from these genera did not show any reliable signs of envenomation.

These findings are from direct analysis of the responses received to the survey only.

Special thanks go to everyone who took part and in the survey and answered any questions I had.

Several months are still left on the survey subscription. In the interest of collecting as much data as possible I would urge anyone who has not filled in the survey, or has received further bites since filling it in, to enter their data into the survey. Further data will allow a full analysis of the results to be conducted again on a larger scale. Any extra results will not be included in my dissertation (which has already been completed and handed in). Extra results would still be beneficial as they would enable us to understand as much about the medical importance of venomous colubrids as possible. As with the last lot of results, principal conclusions of any new information will be posted online for all to have access to.

Link: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=G ... WFaQ_3d_3d

Thank you very much for your input and support throughout the project. I hope you find the results of this study informative and useful.

Please direct any questions or communication to: leopardgeckosarecool@hotmail.com

Happy Herping,

Laurence
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Re: Colubrid Bites

Postby Bushviper » Thu Jun 18, 2009 9:59 am

I am truly amazed that Thrasops is placed lower down on the order than things like Elaphe? Possibly this is just because so few people have been bitten by them?

Why are Thelotornis not mentioned?

We need some semi - suicidal person to test these venoms on. Like the girls that keep cutting themselves for attention this would be way more useful. It hurts but will not kill and they will get the attention they seek.
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Re: Colubrid Bites

Postby GreenTreeDiva » Fri Jul 03, 2009 12:24 am

Nice work Laurence! I very much enjoy reading this!

Maybe Thelotornis wasn't mentioned because no one who took part in the survey reports being bitten by one?

Im also suprised to see Telescopus so far down the bottom. I'v read worse things about them.

Laurence! What Boiga species caused these serious symptoms? There is a constant debate about the Boiga venom and it's effects.
And since I keep a few species myself, it would be interesting to know.. Hope for an answer :D

Cheers Caroline
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Re: Colubrid Bites

Postby BushSnake » Fri Jul 03, 2009 8:39 am

Laurence, thanks for posting the results! Out of cursiosity, I see that the genus Lamprophis is mentioned in the same group as Psammophylax and Telescopus, and can only guess that it is because of some swelling after a bite. The last two are thought (known??) to be venomous, yet as far as I can see in other literature, Lamprophis sp. do not have venom. Obviously your results are based on the data you had available, but I can only imagine that a bad Pseudaspis cana bite will also result in severe swelling, even though they are also considered non-venomous. How do you differentiate between swelling caused by venom, and swelling caused simply by physical damage to the human body?

Also, how are you going to add a confidence level to the data? Obviously any Joe Soap could enter his/her own symptoms, and many of these could be incorrect or a figment or their imagination. Are you going to discard data that contradicts current literature, or are you simply going to leave it to the reader to filter out?
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Re: Colubrid Bites

Postby Pythonodipsas » Fri Jul 03, 2009 9:18 am

It might be too late or you may have already seen but i posted a bite account from the sand snake (Pssamophis subtaeniatus) here.

There are other accounts on that thread as well.
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Re: Colubrid Bites

Postby WW » Fri Jul 03, 2009 6:53 pm

We can only report on those bite cases that we received reports for. For instance, we had no reports of Thelotornis bites, so they aren't discussed. The lack of effects after Thrasops was partly due to the small number of bites, we only had one!

The questionnaire is still open to any more Colubrid bite victims! As you can see, the more reports we get, the better. If you have not reported your bite(s), whether spectacular or a non-event, PLEASE do so. Psammophis bites in particular would be very interesting - I was kind of surprised how few we got, I would have thought more people would get tagged by those.

Pythonodipsas, I can't remember off the top of my head whether you filled in the form for your subtaeniatus, if not, we'd be very grateful if you could, and the same for everyone else who contributed to that thread.

As to data interpretation: we are not all that interested in the species for which very minor envenoming was reported. It can indeed be difficult to distinguish between minor swelling from venom from swelling from local trauma. The ones that we will focus on are the ones that rival the viper bites that we also got the same data for (Vipera spp., Agkistrodon contortrix) in severity.

Cheers,

Wolfgang
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Re: Colubrid Bites

Postby GreenTreeDiva » Sun Jul 05, 2009 2:49 am

Sorry Wolfgang Im not sure I follow you.. :S I'm a bit confused..

"whether spectacular or non-event" and "we are not all that interested in the species for which very minor envenoming was reported!"

So the cases of non-envenomation are gratefully wanted but are not in your intrests?

Im I right?
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Re: Colubrid Bites

Postby QtCreaCha » Sun Jul 05, 2009 8:27 pm

No, No that counts A LOT!! OK, nice..... very very nice, I just got my lower back spasms and heart pulpitations back after viewing that pic!! Oh boy, thanx rolandslf! If I may ask, how did you get a photo of this? Do you always have a camera ready? When a snake bites, does it stay attached till it is removed or just sort of hang on for a while or what?
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Re: Colubrid Bites

Postby rolandslf » Mon Jul 06, 2009 7:48 am

@ QtCreaCha - No, my camera is not always that handy.

What happened here is that I was cleaning cages. This guy gave me a full feeding response bite, complete with coiling.
I new that he was attached for the long haul, so I just carried on finishing up with cleaning his cage.

Due to the fact that he was still attached after some 5 minutes or so I went to get the camera and called my son in law to take the pics.
After the "Photo Shoot" it took both of us to get him off my hand and arm.
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