Venomous snakes and poisonous spiders in the Philippines.
Are there snakes in the Philippines ? Yes, and they can be deadly to unwary travelers.
The island nation known as the Philippines, are a collection of over 7100 islands, each a beautiful island paradise..
The hot and humid tropical climate makes many of the islands ideal breeding grounds for many venomous and poisonous snakes, spiders, and other biting, stinging and possibly life threatening animals.
There are only three main seasons in the Philippine Islands: Summer March till May, June to November is the rainy season, and December till the end of February is the dry season.
Most of the islands used for vacations by foreign tourists have become a fast breeding ground for many dangerous creatures. The attraction of free food for rodents and a feast for blood sucking insects ensures an abundant supply of pests for locals and tourists alike.
Most of the snakes in the Philippines are harmless, but there are some which are amongst the deadliest in the world.
Three species of the spitting cobra are native to the islands and they are:
* Equatorial Spitting Cobra
* Northern Philippine Cobra
* Southeastern Philippine Cobra
Any of these cobras are highly venomous and can be deadly. Ranging from 1m to 1.6 meters (3 - 5 feet) in length and are usually found on the islands of Mindoro, Masbate, Luzon and Catanduanes.
The habitat of the cobra is virtually anywhere where there is water close by. Ponds, puddles or rivers are all places where the cobras will be near.
Preferring jungles and grasslands, the cobras are still often found around human habitats. They are attracted by the large number of rodents which in turn are attracted by the waste from humans.
The venom from the cobra is neurotoxin. Their venom can be spat to almost a distance of 10 feet, and can cause temporary as well as permanent blindness.
If bitten by this snake, the victims skin around the bite wound will begin to turn red and itch. Headaches and nausea will follow and then as the venom attacks the respiratory system, breathing will become difficult.
The muscles will feel stiff and very painful as the venom spreads through the body.
Paralysis may follow as the victim drifts in and out of consciousness. After this death will come as the entire respiratory system breaks down.
Victims have been known to become unconscious within 30 minutes after the initial snake bite.
The US National Library of Medicine indicated that only 8% of victims manged to reach hospital in time to receive anti-venom.
The Reticulated Python grows up to an astonishing 23 feet in length.
Most though are only approximately 10 feet long. These are constrictor snakes and attacks on man are not reported very often.
Although these snakes have the strength to easily kill a full grown human adult, they usually shy away from man unless provoked or agitated.
In 1995, a rubber sap collector was found by his brother after being killed by a Reticulated Python. He found the 23 foot long snake wrapped around his brothers body with his head deep inside the snakes jaws. It took several gun shots from the police to kill the snake.
In one small area of the Philippines over a 40 year period, seven deaths by this snake have been reported.
A mother came across her son being constricted by a python in 2009. The boy had turned blue from lack of breath. The mother slit open the snake with a knife until it let go of her son. It was a pet python she was minding for a friend.
Pit Viper Snakes
There are several species of Pit Vipers within the Philippine Islands including the Bataan, Polilo and the Waglers pit viper.
Once called the '100 pace snake' as people who were bitten, could only walk one hundred paces before dying.
A very venomous snake, the pit viper can be vicious and some species will spend most of their adult lives in trees.
They will drop from the trees onto their prey prior to biting them. Mainly green in color with red, black or yellow markings.
The venom is hemotoxic, which disrupts blood clotting. Any person bitten may soon bleed from the ears, nose, anal passage and even the eyes.
The venom breaks down the body of the prey to make it easier to digest. Bitten victims may not even realize that they have been bitten for several hours, depending on the amount of venom introduced through the bite.
These snakes are very active in the evening and at night, and may also be found in trees.
NB: Never run away from a snake. Always retreat calmly so as not to agitate it. Always seek medical attention if bitten.
The red back spider is allegedly the only poisonous or venomous spider in the Philippines.
Indigenous to Australia, it has now found its home in other countries like Japan and the Philippines.
This black spider is only about 1cm in body length and has a bright red mark on its back with an hourglass coloring on its stomach.
A very close relative of the black widow spider, the venomous bite can leave limbs swollen to proportionate levels. Some amputations of legs and arms have been forced on people whom have not received medical treatment in times.
This nocturnal spider will even eat small lizards that are caught in its web and are considered as one of the most dangerous spiders in the world.
Rare symptoms of a red back spider bite include coma, respiratory failure and even death.
Young children and the elderly have been know to die within hours of being bitten. A fully grown human can take as many as 30 days before they die, whilst all the time being in pain if medical treatment is not received.
NB: Most spider bites come to nothing as no or very little venom is injected into the wound. If bitten, seek medical help immediately.
Spider fighting is a popular sport in the Philippines.
Mainly in rural areas, this blood sport consists of two spiders forced to fight each other, usually to the death.
Children collect the web spiders and hold competitions.
In Japan it is the adults whom hold the fights and many large bets are placed on the outcome.
TOURIST WARNING: Human Kidney Harvesting - free link.
The Brown Recluse Spider
Also known as the violin spider. This species of spider is not indigenous to the Philippines and its actual status in the islands has not been realistically confirmed.
But if this spider is on the islands, then the venom can literally 'melt' your skin if the bite is untreated.
The brown recluse spider venom can leave gaping wounds on flesh of up to 10 cm in diameter.
Free Link: Brown recluse spiders and their bites.
The centipedes in the Philippine Islands can grow up to 20cm in length with 21 separate body segments.
Each segment has two legs attached, but the venom only comes from the set which are located on its head.
These are called forcipules and the venom injected into their prey contains a variety of different venom's.
A 7 year old girl was bitten on the head by a centipede and died 29 hours later. This was the only reported death of a human in the Philippines by centipede.
Bite victims will usually feel a sudden rush of pain from the initial bite and swelling. If medical attention is not sought immediately then other complications may arise.
There are two types of crocodiles native to the Philippines. The first is the Philippine crocodile which is endangered and low in numbers. This crocodile grows to a meter in length and poses no real threat to humans.
It was entered in 2008 onto the endangered list thanks to much dynamite fishing by the locals.
The other species is very dangerous. The Asian freshwater crocodile or Indo-Pacific Crocodile is one of the largest living reptiles today.
All crocodiles are semi-aquatic and can be seen near water supplies such as rivers, lakes, or even in swimming pools.
Although their apparent awareness of man is inbred, they will still attack if hungry or agitated. These crocodiles will be submerged in rivers and found basking in the sun.
Any attempt to get close up photography of these magnificent creatures risks losing an arm or being taken into the murky depths of the water where the death roll will end their life.
The mosquitoes in the Philippines carry Malaria.
The humble mosquito is responsible for more deaths in the Philippines than all other venomous and poisonous creatures combined. Mosquitoes allegedly kill more humans every year than the worlds combined animal, reptile and insect populations.
Their constant blood thirst for the females ensures that there are millions of mosquitoes in every town or city.
They also transmit dengue fever. Both of these diseases can, and do kill.
Prior to the USA military leaving the islands in 1992, the occupied islands were sprayed with insecticide every year. Since then, the local governments have, on occasions, sprayed around tourist areas to help control the mosquito populations within defined areas.
Malaria can takes weeks to manifest inside the human body. People returning from vacation, apparently fit and well, have then fallen ill due to dengue fever or malaria several days or weeks later.
It is essential to ensure that Malaria vaccinations are taken up to six weeks prior to departure for the Philippines.
This may not alone be enough. Once there, all tourists are expected to use a Mosquito spray or insect repellent every day to help themselves avert disaster.
NB: Mosquitoes kill almost 3 million people every year
The Philippines are an essentially stunning paradise. The above mentioned animals, with the exception of the mosquito, may not be found everyday.
But they do exist and are a constant danger to travelers whom love to explore. It is always advisable to have anti histamines and a medical kit to hand in the event of an accident or an encounter with a poisonous or venomous creature.
Eric Caunca from Philippines on July 08, 2020:
You cannot find those poisonous organisms in cities. I'm from the Philippines but I never encountered those animals except mosquitoes.
Scott Mcleskey on April 23, 2019:
The mexicsn Red knee Tarantula is not indigious to the phillipines but it is not known if they have been brought here because the climate is ok for them to breed but the Mex Red knee is very venumnous and can kill immediately.
Doreen on November 12, 2018:
It’s 1,107 Islands not 7100 where the f did you learn that??
Gary Hedlund on July 16, 2018:
I’m planning a vacation to the Philippines. I’m wondering if I will be able to charge my phone in the wall outlets there ? Is it 1-10 ? I am from the USA
Jason on June 13, 2017:
Where was the orange? From what you are saying it can be c mexican red rump, chako golden knee or mexican fireleg..
mark on June 22, 2016:
it was a tarantula not a regualr taruntula thou it has a venom but it cannot be lethal and also you can pet that kind of tarantula
ellen on May 16, 2016:
don't know the name of the spider but, from your description, it sounds like a tarantula.
Phil on April 25, 2016:
I live in Southern Leyte,And about a year ago was visiting in Maasin when i encountered the largest,Most beautiful spider i have ever seen,Orange and Yellow stripped,About 6 or 7 inches across with legs about 8mm thick,It was covered in what looked like fur,Was slow moving and seemed very pasive as i ushered it out of the door,It really was beautiful,I so wish i had photographed it.Any ideas of the name. Regards Phil