Category Archive 'Snakes'

01 Sep 2017

Mother Said There’d Be Days Like This

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28 Nov 2016

In Adelaide, the Reptiles are Restless

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Red-bellied snake (Pseudechis porphyriacus). Yes, it’s an elapid.


A snake catcher is warning of increased snake activity in South Australian towns and cities over summer after removing several dangerous reptiles from Adelaide’s CBD [Central Business District].

Adelaide’s Ian Renton said good spring rains had boosted food sources for mice, and while callout numbers were about average so far, they had the potential to increase.

Mr Renton said he had removed snakes from homes and businesses right across Adelaide, including the CBD.

“We’ve taken them out of Wyatt Street, out of Frome Road, Pulteney Street, both red-belly black snakes and brown snakes,” he said.

“People leave their doors open or snakes come in through pet doors or air conditioning systems.

Mice go into the roof space and the snakes follow the scent trail, and drop out through light fittings.”

Mr Renton said people needed to take care and use common sense around their properties.

“People need to be aware [and] watch where they’re putting their hands. Don’t put their hands in places where they can’t see,” he said.

“Make sure they’re wearing gloves, good leather gloves, when they’re doing gardening.”

He said SA Ambulance Service had been reporting almost daily calls to treat people for snake bites.

10 Sep 2015

Avoid Snakebite in Africa Starting Next Year

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IFL Science

If nothing is done, then by the middle of next year the world will run out of one of the safest and most effective treatments for snakebites. This could lead to tens of thousands of preventable deaths, warns the international medical organization Doctors Without Borders (MSF), which urges the global health community to take action in tackling one of the planet’s most neglected public health emergencies.

“We are now facing a real crisis,” said Dr Gabriel Alcoba, MSF snakebite medical advisor, in a statement. The anti-venom in question, called Fav-Afrique, is one of the most effective, treating 10 different snake bites that occur in sub-Saharan Africa. Manufacturer Sanofi Pasteur ceased production in 2014, and the last batch is due to expire in June 2016. Even with immediate action no replacement product would be available for at least two years. This could lead to countless deaths and amputations for those who cannot access the appropriate health care. …

Sanofi Pasteur says it has been priced out of the market by cheaper competitors and is instead focusing on rabies treatments. But MSF warns that the safety and effectiveness of these alternatives have not yet been properly established. The pharmaceutical company announced its intention to stop making the product way back in 2010, and has offered to share its anti-venom recipe with others. “It’s very strange that the relevant stakeholders are only realising this problem five years later,” said Sanofi Pasteur spokesman Alain Bernal.

The main threat of this shortage is to those living in sub-Saharan Africa, where 30,000 people a year die from snake bites. Envenomation by snakes is primarily a problem for those in poorer rural populations, who already have a limited access to medicine, due to cost and remoteness. It is these communities that will bear the brunt of this lack of anti-venom.

Unfortunately, according to the WHO, donors are largely uninterested in funding snakebite programs.

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