What Should I Do If A Snake Bites Me?

Snakes -> Top Snake Articles -> What should i do if a snake bites me?

The answer to this question depends on whether you mean in captivity or in the wild, and whether or not you know what species has bitten you.

For a standard, harmless snake such as a corn snake or garter snake there's nothing much to worry about.

These snakes kill prey by suffocating it, not using poison, therefore their fangs are simply there to help them eat just like yours or mine.

In this case wash the wound thoroughly under running water and sterlize the area using a normal disinfectant for human use.

If bleeding persists, remember that holding the part of you that has been bitten above your heart - that means put an arm or hand in the air, or for bites on a leg or foot, lie down flat then raise the limb up.

Remember that whilst it's unusual, you may need stitches and if in any doubt a visit to the hospital is not going overboard.

Also, it's important to remember that considerable fluid loss can result in shock which is in itself potentially fatal.

People suffering from shock will often appear pale, cold, clammy, dizzy and/or disoriented.

Such people should be kept warm with the legs raised ideally to keep blood flowing to the brain and so reduce the chances of collapse.

All this also applies to a snake bite in the wild, but in this case you have the additional need to work out what species has bitten you.

If it is a non-venomous snake then it'll put your mind at rest, and if it is a venomous species then the hospital will be able to treat you much quicker because they'll know what antivenom to administer.

You might recognise the species of snake immediately or you might even have to try and catch or even kill the specimen in question so you can take it with you to hospital with you.

Once you know what snake has bitten you - get to the hospital as quickly as possible, whilst doing your best to remain calm on the way or else your metabolism could speed up, resulting in any venom present in your body working even quicker.