Not all snakes are poisonous. But for the ones that are the health effects caused by their venomous bite can be very serious. How serious depends on a variety of factors. This health blurb reviews most of them.
Venom is composed of various toxic substances and the mixture of these toxins is unique among different kinds of poisonous snakes. As such, health effects from a bite will vary. However, toxins in venom are usually broken down into these 4 general categories (coupled with their basic effects):
- myotoxins ~ muscle breakdown
- cytotoxins ~ swelling & tissue damage
- neurotoxins ~ chemical signals between neuron disruption
- hemotoxins ~ blood vessel integrity & coagulation interference
Venom composition is a major factor in health outcomes, as well as how to treat your snake bite.
Venom is discharged by a snake through their hallow upper jaw fangs. Fortunately, every snake bite does not always include much venom. Why? One reason is venom storage was recently used on something else and hasn’t been replenished yet. Another is you are too big to eat and don’t pose a threat, so why waste it.
There are many species of snakes that are not venomous. Here’s a couple of examples of ones that are:
- coral snake
Because venom composition varies, identifying which snake species bit you definitely helps for treatment.
Two other aspects that factor into the health effects of a snake bite are where you were bitten and your overall condition.
So, what health effects can you expect after a snake bite? There’s no simple answer because of all the variables involved. Although, this list offers a sampling of potential symptoms:
- blurry vision
- metallic taste
- abdominal pain
- internal bleeding
- breathing difficulty
- skin tissue damage
- excessive sweating
- loss of coordination
Here’s a general rule of thumb: If the skin area surrounding your snake bite swells and changes color, then assume venom was left behind. However, you should always seek medical attention ASAP after any bite unless you are sure the snake was not poisonous. And while you’re on the way to seek help it’s important to remain calm and still.