Warning - headless snakes can bite

Headless Snake Bites Hapless Man

In fact, "decapitated snake heads are dangerous for between 20 and 60 minutes after removal from the body of the snake," Jeffrey Suchard of the Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center in Phoenix told SciAm's own Steve Mirsky  earlier that year. So remember: wait an hour before handling a dead snake.

So says Scientific American, which also refers to the NEJM article:

Dead rattlesnakes can bite? Mayo Clin Health Lett 1999;17:4.
PubMed

Suchard JR, LoVecchio F. Envenomations by rattlesnakes thought to be dead. N Engl J Med 1999;340:1930.
PubMed
Excerpt at NEJM

So be careful.  Don't be bitis.


Puff the Magic Adder

Skillie might have a new friend, if I can persuade Wolfgang to adopt.

Yesterday, a baby puff adder was found in Jeevs' garden.  Very cute, and about 25cm long (an estimate - he didn't stretch himself out for us.)  Species name: Bitis arietans - you have to be careful because they bitis!  Apparently quite common in Mthatha.

He was very cold, and hiding under a box, safely stowed away in the back of a bakkie.  We put him in a smaller box, and took him inside.  He took a liking to one of the pieces of the box he could hide in - maybe just because we were inspecting him and he didn't like that.

Luckily he wasn't in the mood for biting, although we didn't touch him while he was able to get a nip in.

Here is is getting into his little corner:



More:



A close up:



Even more:



All the way in:



People here are terrified of snakes ... this one is sweet, though, and well behaved.  He's quite safe to look at if you're careful - snakes don't carry viruses that can transmit to humans.


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