Venomous snakes in China.
South East Asia has one of the largest venomous snake populations in the world. Every year, over 4000 people die in Asia from snake bites. Thousands more are subjected to blindness, limb amputations and even organ transplants.
Although the great people of China eat or make medicines from over 5 million snakes a year, there are millions more in virtually every area of China.
In August 2014, a chef died within 20 minutes after being bitten by a snakes decapitated head.
Even a dead snake continues to contain enough venom to cause fatalities in humans. A simple mishandling of a snake, alive or dead, may have disastrous consequences.
The beautiful King Cobra snake in China is the worlds largest venomous snake. Growing to an incredible 6 meters (19 feet ) in length, and weighing in at 13lbs ( 6 kg ), although some captured specimens allegedly are much larger.
Its' general habitat is rural areas, such as forests and jungles, with an adequate supply to fresh water. Its keen eyesight can detect small moving prey from almost 330 feet away.
The king Cobras' main diet are other snakes, as well as toads, frogs and even birds.
Venom & Bites
The King Cobra venom, is mainly neurotoxin. Mortality rates will differ according to the amount to venom injected into a person, but statistics indicate a 50 - 60% chance of death for a victim, even after anti-venom is administered.
It has been recorded that a single bite rom a King Cobra snake has killed an elephant.
The toxins affect the central nervous system of each victim. The initial bite will cause severe pain, redness and inflammation of the immediate area on its human victim.
Nausea, vomiting and blurred vision will follow as the venom rapidly spreads through the body. Temporary or permanent paralysis could set in within 10 - 12 minutes of the bite.
If the amount of venom injected is high, then a severe cardiovascular collapse will render the victim in a coma. Death will quickly follow as the whole respiratory system will fail.
Fatal snake bites from the King Cobra in China are relatively rare, and usually happen to snake charmers.
Chinese Bamboo Viper
Snakes are not poisonous, they are classed as venomous. China is home to over 200 species of snake, of which at least 30 are highly venomous.
The Chinese Bamboo Viper ( Trimeresurus Stejnegeri ) is also referred to as the Chinese Tree Viper.
Many unsuspecting tourists have been frightened or bitten by this adept species of snake which is at home in the trees as well as on the ground. They can be found camouflaged in trees and bushes around central areas of human habitats.
The influx of man has brought an abundance of rats which in turn attract these vipers to a constant supply of fresh meat. These snakes when startled, will fall out of a tree onto hikers and lash out to protect itself.
Varying green in colour and only growing to 30 inches in length, this small Chinese snake packs a powerful punch.
Venom and Bites
The venom is a very potent hemotoxin, which literally melts the skin. The initial bite pain can last for up to 24 hours and feels like being constantly prodded with a branding iron.
Very quickly, the flesh around the bite will die and turn black. The area may become massively enflamed as the venom begins to kill off the living muscle and skin cells.
Depending on the amount of venom injected, the necrosis could spread quite rapidly over a large area. Usually bites have been reported on limbs as people forage or hike through jungles, forests and even hotel gardens.
If severe necrosis occurs on a limb, the limb may be amputated to prevent further exposure to the snake venom.
NB: All snakes usually shy away from human contact, and will only attack if provoked or threatened.
100 Pacer Snake
So called after local beliefs that a bite victim can only walk 100 paces before they die. In certain areas it is known as the '50 pacer snake'.
This may be true depending on the amount of venom injected by the snake bite. Classed as a very dangerous and aggressive snake, even by the US Military.
Predominantly grey - brown in colouring, and growing to almost a meter in length, this snake has really no preferred habitat. It can be found in forested areas as well as low lying valleys and coastal areas. Comes from the viper family of snakes.
A nocturnal snake which can be found in houses, under garden rocks, and by local streams and rivers.
Venom and Bites
The venom is classed as hemotoxin with strong hemorrhagic qualities. Once bitten, victims will feel immense pain and possible localised swelling. Bleeding will continue through the bite wound as the venom restricts coagulation of blood cells.
Ulcers will begin to appear around the wound as the skin begins the necrosis stage and healthy tissue begin to die. An elevated heart beat with palpitations occurs within minutes of being bitten.
Renal failure may occur, nausea, headaches, dizziness and possible heart failure.
NB: Never run rom a snake. The action may cause agitation and cause the snake to lash out.
Russels Viper ( Daboia ) was named after a Scottish herpetologist whom first documented Asian snakes or the western world.
These snakes can easily be found in built up areas and are responsible for more snake bites and deaths in China than any other snake.
A nocturnal snake by nature, it lurks under rocks and in small fissures as well as tree bases and wood piles. Appearing to be slightly slow, this viper can change its mood from passive to very aggressive in micro seconds.
June and July will see females laying their young with 20 - 40 offspring commonplace, whilst up to 75 young have been reported.
Averaging 4 feet in length with a small yet viscous 2 inch head, the Russell's Viper in China is one to be avoided.
Venom and Bites
The fatality dose of venom for a humam is 70mg, this viper can produce 250 mg of venom in each bite.
Immediately following a bite from this snake, victims will feel immense pain and swelling around the bitten area.
Within 20 minutes, blood may appear from the gums and in urine. The heart rate will begin to slow and a loss of blood pressure will materialize.
In severe cases, blistering will not remain local but will travel along a limb as will necrosis. Facial swelling, nausea and vomiting will occur in 30-40% of all cases.
Kidney failure occurs in 35% of victims and severe pain could last for over 1 month.
Septicaemia, kidney failure and respiratory system failure can cause death up to 14 days after being bitten.
30% of people whom survived an attack by the Russels Viper snake in China contracted problems with their pituitary gland ( brain ) which can lead to sex hormone abnormalities.
Tourist Warning: Human organ trafficking gangs operate in China.
Other Snakes in China
As over 200 species of snake live in China's' rural and urban jungles, it is possible that many visits to the country will include a sighting of a snake.
Other venomous snakes include the commonplace mamooshi snake, which the Chinese add to their popular drink '7 snake wine'.
The sea and the banded krait, Monacled Cobra, Habu, and the Chinese Cobra are all snakes to be aware of during any visit to China.
Michael on March 27, 2019:
Ive been around some very aggressive snakes in different parts of the world. For some reason the Russels Viper always concerned me the most. Doesn’t normally bite once but multiple times and the damage I’ve seen is unforgettable. Unpredictable and crazy aggressive at times. All these are bad news surely and I haven’t ever messed with the 100/50Pacer snake but the Russels is the one I don’t want to deal with again.
Mrs Frugal from United States on August 25, 2015:
Scary, but a great article! I'm glad I don't live there as I want nothing to do with a snake, venomous or not. Hope you have a great day~ :)