Thursday, June 20, 2024

Study: High temperatures increase chances of snakebite, so what about snake venom? | Science


Snakebites account for more than 5 million deaths annually and 138,000 deaths each year. Snake venom can cause many health problems, amputations and other permanent disabilities.

The results of a study conducted in Georgia, USA – a state home to 17 species of venomous snakes, only 7 of which are of concern to humans – showed that every degree Celsius increase in temperature leads to an average 6% increase in snakebites.

These results are published study July 11, in the journal GeoHealth.

Snakes are known to react to seasonal weather fluctuations, entering a hibernation-like state called brumation during the winter, so these results might be expected, and are consistent with findings from previous studies.

Global warming

“We don’t know much about how weather—that is, short-term weather changes—contributes to the threat of snake contact in humans, because many fatal snakebites occur in places where there are no good data on morbidity and mortality,” says Noah Skowronic, a health and environmental scientist at Emory University in Georgia.

The team analyzed 3,908 hospitalizations for venomous snakebites between 2014 and 2020 (Shutterstock).

According to A statement Skowronic and others analyzed 3,908 cases of hospitalization for venomous snakebite that spanned the period from 2014 to 2020.

This data was compared to the weather for each day, including temperature and precipitation.

The team of researchers found that although the highest number of snakebites overall occurred in the summer, the strongest correlation between high temperatures and snakebites occurred in the spring.

Researchers believe that high summer temperatures make snakes lethargic.

According to WHO estimates, more than 5 million snakebites occur annually and cause 138,000 deaths each year. Snake venom can cause many health problems, amputations and other permanent disabilities.

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What happens if a snake injects you with venom?

Snake venom is a white or yellow liquid consisting of a chemical compound produced by glands located behind the snake’s eyes and injected into the snake’s hollow teeth through the snake’s airway, acting like a hypodermic needle.

There are 3 main types of poisons that attack the body in different ways (Shutterstock)

According to to inform Published on the “” website, 3 main types of poisons attack the body in different ways.

  • Hemotoxic venom causes bleeding by interfering with blood clotting, and can lead to fatal hemorrhage, shock, and convulsions.
  • Neurotoxic poisons attack the central nervous system. Victims may develop tetanus and difficulty breathing. A stroke that usually starts in the head and moves down the body can cause respiratory failure because the muscles responsible for breathing stop working.
  • A third type, called cytotoxic venom, attacks the area surrounding the bite, destroying cells and tissues. Entire joints may be affected and may require amputation. Toxins can also cause low blood pressure, increased heart rate, vomiting, diarrhea and kidney failure. Women and children are more severely affected by snake venom due to their smaller body size.

Do snakes bite us on purpose?

“The key to reducing dangerous encounters is education,” says Lawrence Wilson, an agricultural herpetologist at Emory University. “Let people know what snakes like, like places with dense vegetation, so they can be cautious in such habitats.”

“Humans and snakes can coexist, including venomous snakes, as long as we respect and understand their habitats and needs.”

There is a common myth that snakes chase humans, but the truth is that they are just as afraid of us as we are (Getty Images)

Inside A statement Posted on ( Doug Pickers, a conservation and national parks campaigner in New South Wales, says it’s unlikely you’ll be chased by a snake. There is a common myth that snakes prey on humans, but the truth is that they are just as afraid of us as they are of us.

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“They want to escape, and the easiest way to escape is probably the same path you are on. Even if you corner them, they will defend themselves to scare you.”

According to the report, the best advice if you see a snake is to leave it alone. Snakes will usually move when they see you, so stay a few meters away to ensure they don’t get entangled and find an escape route. If the snake does not move, it is better to take an alternate route.

“Small animals fear for their lives when they see large, dangerous humans,” says Dr Timothy Jackson, a toxicologist at the University of Melbourne.

“We can’t think like them, but we can change our perspective. Snakes don’t want us to do anything and if given the chance, they will stay away, but that doesn’t mean they are not dangerous or (in return) they will prevail,” he added.

Nadia Barnett
Nadia Barnett
"Award-winning beer geek. Extreme coffeeaholic. Introvert. Avid travel specialist. Hipster-friendly communicator."

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