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Snake ssssafety: Avoiding bites from Phuket’s venomous residents

Snake ssssafety: Avoiding bites from Phuket’s venomous residents

As rescue workers urge peo­ple to beware of snakes on the move, and viral videos of snake catchers start to appear on our social media feeds a lit­tle too often, it’s important to know how to deal with these slithery characters.

Sunday 31 March 2019, 03:00PM


Photo: Egor Kamelev / Pexels

Photo: Egor Kamelev / Pexels

Do not provoke

Snakes usually will not attack unless they feel threatened. In the bush, wear sturdy leather shoes and stomp heavily when walking, striking with a stick on the ground in front of you to warn any reptiles you are coming – they will most likely just slither away.

Most strikes occur when snakes feel cornered or under threat, or when peo­ple accidentally step on them.

Be alert and prepared

Outside, have a good look around you for snakes that may hang from tree branches or swim in water, and be care­ful when turning over rocks or other objects. And remember: snakes are evolved to be well-camouflaged in their environment, whether it be the desert, forest or bush.

Thick, protective gloves are recom­mended for gardening and farming.

Carry a lamp at night.

Birds can help too. Many species possess an alarm cry to alert others of hidden danger.

Inside, check your bed and dark cor­ners – snakes can enter homes in pur­suit of prey, cool or water.

The neater your home, the more like­ly you will spot an out-of-place snake. A mosquito net around your bed can be an effective snake repellent.

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Once bitten

If you or someone else is bitten, try and remember the colour and shape of the snake, and seek immediately medical care at a clinic or hospital.

Remove any bracelets, rings or watches that may hamper blood flow in case of swelling.

Do not try and catch the snake, ap­ply a tourniquet, cut the wound, suck out the venom or drink alcohol or coffee.

Also do not seek to inject your own antivenom, which can induce a violent allergic reaction and needs to be admin­istered in a professional environment with adrenaline and oxygen on hand.

Phuket-specific

In case of emergency snake sightings in Phuket, call 1669 or 199.

The Phuket Rumajai Kupai Founda­tion’s chief, Sayan Thammaphan, has urged anyone with a snake in or near their house or business to not approach the snake, but instead call him to have foundation staff come and safely remove the intruder. He can be contacted at 081-3670537.

The Phuket Ruamjai Rescue Foun­dation, based on Soi Ta-iad in Chalong, can also help, although they mainly op­erate in the Chalong area. Telephone: 098-7045345.

Any snakes caught by the Phuket Ruamjai Rescue Foundation are later released into the wild in isolated areas in the hills of Phuket, away from resi­dents’ homes.

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