Sunday, September 7, 2014

Big-eyed Pit Viper

This beauty is a Big-eyed Pit Viper. Yes, it's dangerous, but not as dangerous as you might think.  In a recent Bangkok Post article, it was claimed that 7 - 8,000 people get bit by snakes in Thailand (which I find extremely difficult to believe), yet they fail to mention that on average 30 people per year actually die... that's a mere .38%.  That's 38% of 1%.

Snakes use venom for eating, it's not a weapon. Venom is actually modified saliva. Being such, part of the problem with a snake bite is tissue damage due to the prey (or you) starting to be predigested.

It is NOT in the snake's interest to inject you
with venom. The snake is extremely vulnerable while it is without venom and it uses a lot of energy for the snake to reproduce the venom. That's why the vast majority of bites a 'dry' bites (no venom). That's why 8,000 people can be bitten and only around 30 die in Thailand.

image Thailand Big-eyed Pit Viper
Photo by Benjamin Schaye
More people die from coconuts than that. You don't see folks declaring war on coconut trees, but there are many poorly written articles that give folks justification for killing every snake they see.

The green vipers tend to hang out in similarly color foliage. It's difficult to see them. If you pay attention to where you put your hands, which bushes you walk closely to, and exercise some common sense, you should never have to deal with a snake bite.  

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