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Woman, bitten by 2-foot
cobra, in critical condition

Palm Beach Post, by Kristen M. Daum and Sonja Isger

Original Article

Posted By:Hazymac, 6/26/2014 3:04:05 PM

The McCarthy Wildlife Sanctuary boasts the “coolest collection of snakes around,” but Thursday morning one of those snakes, a 2-foot-long spectacled cobra, bit a sanctuary employee as she cleaned cages. The woman, who’s permitted to handle snakes, was bitten shortly after 5:30 a.m., reported Katie Johnson, spokeswoman for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. By 5:45 a.m., Palm Beach County Fire Rescue crews were taking her to Palms West Hospital and by 8 a.m. an antivenin team from Miami had arrived to help treat her. By lunch time, the woman was in critical condition, Johnson said.

Comments:
The spectacled cobra, indigenous to India and parts of surrounding countries, isn´t the most venomous snake in the world, or even in the region, but because it likes living around human civilization, it accounts for most snakebite fatalities in the Far East: tens of thousands per year. Big constrictors in Florida are an ecological problem. If these cobras somehow got free and started breeding, that would be a worse problem. Untreated, their bites are usually fatal.

      


Post Reply  

Reply 1 - Posted by: bamapreacher, 6/26/2014 3:08:50 PM     (No. 9900917)

I know the king cobra often doesn´t inject very much venom, realizing a human can´t be eaten and not wanting to waste venom (much like cottonmouths) but I have no idea what the spectacled cobra does.

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Reply 2 - Posted by: MattMusson, 6/26/2014 3:11:54 PM     (No. 9900922)

Snakes are natural escape artists. If you keep them they will eventually get out. If you keep poisonous snakes - keep the antivenom handy.

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Reply 3 - Posted by: antiquegolf, 6/26/2014 3:33:40 PM     (No. 9900957)

Regardless of how tough Florida laws are regarding keeping and displaying exotic animals, it is stupid and dangerous to allow non-indigenous deadly creatures into the United States.

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Reply 4 - Posted by: Hazymac, 6/26/2014 3:39:39 PM     (No. 9900964)

#1 is correct that the king cobra (whose normal diet consists mainly of other snakes) can control the amount of venom it injects. Its venom doesn´t rate highly on the LD-50 scale of lethality, although one bite could offload two tablespoons of venom. Although it´s rare, elephants have succumbed to king cobra bites on the tender tips of their trunks. In India the Russell´s viper and common krait have much deadlier venon, drop for drop, than the cobras.

Bill Haast, proprietor of the Miami Serpentarium before moving to Punta Gorda, provided science with all varieties of snake venom, and was bitten some 175 times in his lifetime. (I have watched him feed and milk his snakes.) The closest he came to dying was after a krait bite, when he wound up in an iron lung. In 1948 he started injecting himself with snake venom, trying to work up an immunity. Fellow herpetologists told him he´d be dead within two years. He lived to 100, and was one of my heroes. What a man! There´s no telling how many lives his work has saved. I hope others have followed his path into herpetological science.

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Reply 5 - Posted by: jmkotow, 6/26/2014 4:21:01 PM     (No. 9901009)

# 4 I also loved the Serpentarium in Miami Bill was an amazing man.

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Reply 6 - Posted by: Edgelady, 6/26/2014 5:33:19 PM     (No. 9901089)

About three years ago I was bit by a copperhead, which are hemotoxin, not neurotoxin. I´d killed many, but didn´t even see this one when it bit because it was a baby and well hidden in the brown leaves of spring. I was fortunate because the local hospital was doing a study on copperhead anti-venom, both kinds had been used for years. The U.S. has historically used horse serum for the anti-venom. Other countries, including Mexico, have used sheep serum, which seems to have less side affects. I went ahead and took part in the study, saved me $50K for anti-venom treatment! Yep, getting treatment isn´t cheap. I´ve had no long term side effects from it, although I was told by an old timer that when I´m close to a copperhead again my finger where it bit me should start to ache. Haven´t experienced that yet, and I´ve killed a couple since then.

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Reply 7 - Posted by: Heraclitus, 6/26/2014 6:22:54 PM     (No. 9901140)

Fascinating, #4!

How I appreciate my fellow Ldotters!

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Reply 8 - Posted by: antiquegolf, 6/26/2014 6:39:38 PM     (No. 9901158)

This is a qualification of reply 3. Exceptions such as described in reply 4 obviously should be allowed. When I posted, the Burmese Python debacle in the Everglades was uppermost in my mind.

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