Very few people would say that a snake encounter is pleasant, even if it's just a harmless grass snake. But an encounter with a venomous snake can lead to health problems or even death. Every region of the world has its own venomous species and it would not be bad to learn more about them. Some specific signs can also help you tell if the snake is venomous or not.

AT The bright side, We decided to share these signs with you, as well as the type of behavior to adopt to avoid dangerous consequences after meeting with a venomous snake.

How can you identify a venomous snake?

Herpetologists explain the specific differences between venomous and non-venomous snakes. However, there are so many species of snakes in the world that there may be some exceptions. Nevertheless, some general differences need to be taken into account.

1. the eyes

Non-venomous snakes have round pupils while venomous snakes have vertical pupils. There are exceptions, however: black (Africa), cobra (Africa, Middle East and Asia) and taipan (Australia) serpents have round pupils.

It is interesting to note that some non-venomous snakes may change the shape of their pupils in times of danger. A viper model, for example, can do it.

2. A venomous snake normally has a heat-sensitive hole between its eyes and nostrils to locate warm-blooded prey.

3. Most venomous snakes have a triangular shaped head wider than their necks. Non-venomous snake heads are generally rounded.

4. Venomous snakes usually have a single row of scales at the end of their tails, while non-venomous ones have a visible line separating 2 rows of scales at the end of their tail.

5. Poisonous snakes often have bright colors and can also whistle, crunch (rattlesnakes) or behave aggressively. The exceptions are the royal scarlet snakes and the spotted garter snakes.

6. The vipers and grass snakes are similar, but you can distinguish them by the following signs: a grass snake has a yellow collar around the neck while the viper has a dark line zigzagging on the back.

7. If a snake has a diamond pattern on its skin or it has 3 colors, it is usually venomous.

8. Poisonous water snakes swim with their entire bodies visible over water, while non-venomous snakes keep their bodies under water.

Precautionary measures

When you are in the country, do not forget that snakes can be found anywhere and take the following precautionary measures:

  • Cut the tall grass in your garden and remove the fallen branches – the snakes usually like to hide it.
  • Reduce the number of rodents around your country house, they usually attract snakes.
  • You can spray an ammonia solution in the farthest parts of your yard. Snakes do not like its smell whereas ammonia is not dangerous for them.
  • Choose closed-toed shoes when walking in the woods.
  • Mountaineers can be bitten by snakes because they like to hide in rock crevices. You should avoid such surfaces and keep your hands on the inside.
  • Snakes will probably never attack first. They only do it if they are afraid. But they become more aggressive during their mating period between June and July. A frightened snake injects more poison.
  • When you walk in nature, especially in wet and swampy areas, try to avoid high and thick grass, or at least emit noisy sounds in advance by moving the grass around. grass with a stick.
  • If you are camping for the night, cover all light sources as they attract snakes. And do not forget to shake your clothes in the morning, the human smell also attracts snakes.
  • Do not follow snakes out of curiosity. You can provoke a snake to attack you.

What should you do if a snake bites you?

If this happens, you must follow these rules to put your health at least as low as possible.

Here are some of the symptoms you can expect after being bitten by a poisonous snake:

  • Examine the bite. Two close bite marks indicate that the snake has fangs and is venomous.
  • The bite is painful, your skin around the bite becomes swollen and pale.
  • You have difficulty breathing, nausea, high blood pressure, muscle weakness and / or fever.

Snake venom has different effects on humans. However, if you have been bitten by a common viper, it will probably not be fatal if you are an adult, but in either case, you must seek medical attention immediately. The biggest threat of a snake bite is usually related to allergic reactions to venom, which is why you should include antihistamines in your first aid kit.

Before arrival of an ambulance or your arrival at the hospital, proceed as follows:

  • Examine your skin. If there is venom on the outside of the wound, remove it carefully to prevent it from getting into the damaged skin.
  • Drink plenty of fluids such as water, tea or broth to remove toxins from your body.
  • Stay calm and do not move to prevent the venom from spreading inside your body, because the faster the heart rate, the faster the venom will spread in your body.
  • Make sure your bitten member stays still.
  • Take antihistamines. You can also take sedatives and heart medications.

You must not do the following:

  • Cut through the wound to remove the venom.
  • Apply tourniquet.
  • Cauterize or apply creams to the damaged area.
  • Drink alcohol or coffee.

Opinions differ as to whether it is worthwhile to suck venom or not. This only makes sense in the first 15 minutes after being bitten, but an untrained person will not be able to do it properly. However, some experts believe that such actions can eliminate up to 50% of the venom. It is not dangerous for a person who provides assistance, even if it has small injuries to the mouth.

If the snake is dead, you can carefully (without touching it with your bare hands) put it in a few plastic bags and send it to the search.

We hope that these tips have been helpful to you and that you will not have to apply them in real life.

Have you ever met snakes? How did you behave? Tell us in the comments below.

Illustrated by Leonid Khan for