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Snakebite

Most snakes are harmless to humans. However, some snakes in Thailand do have a deadly bite, and will bite humans if picked up or harassed. You should never pick up a snake unless you are 100% confident what species it is and know that it is harmless. Even experienced snake handlers practice caution and do not touch snakes unless they have identified it first. Nearly all snake bites come from trying to pick up a snake, stepping on a snake, or putting one’s hand directly in front of a snake.  When snakes are given proper distance, even the venomous ones will prefer to get away rather than bite.  Be safe!

The following snakes in Bangkok have a potentially dangerous bite. (Note – there are many other venomous snakes in Thailand that are found outside of Bangkok!)

Monocled Cobra
Monocled Cobra Naja kaouthia banded variant

Banded Krait
banded krait Bungarus fasciatus

Russell’s Viper
russell's viper Daboia russelii siamensis

White-lipped Pit Viper
White-lipped Tree Viper Cryptelytrops albolabris

Large-eyed Pit Viper
Large-eyed Pit Viper Trimeresurus macrops

If you are bitten by a snake and believe it may be venomous, calmly detach the snake as quickly as possible, take a picture so that the hospital can identify it, and get to the nearest hospital right away.  Most of the traditional first aid for snake bite is the result of urban legends and will do more harm than good – don’t cut the bite area, don’t try to suck the venom out, and don’t tie on a tourniquet.  The most important advice is to stay calm, lie down if possible, and get to a hospital quickly, so that doctors can start the necessary antivenom treatments.  Antivenom is specific to the type of venomous snake, so make sure you call ahead to the hospital and describe the snake that bit you so that they can be prepared with the correct treatment.

So, to sum up the advice:

1) Do not touch or get close to any snake unless you know what species it is.

2) If you do get bit by a potentially dangerous snake, identify the snake and take a picture if possible

3) Staying calm and getting to a hospital as quickly as possible are the best things you can do for yourself. The self-applied first aid remedies do more harm than good.

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