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Author Topic: Does the size of a snake matter?  (Read 13005 times)

Offline Carolyn

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Does the size of a snake matter?
« on: 17/04/2008 16:28:43 »
Yesterday my Dad killed a 5 1/2 foot rattlesnake in my Moms flower garden.  She said if a snake that big had bitten her that she probably wouldn't have made it back in the house to call 911.

Does the size of the snake affect the toxicity of its venom? In other words, if a 5 1/2 foot rattlesnake bit me would it kill me quicker than a bite from a 1 foot rattlesnake?


 

sooyeah

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Does the size of a snake matter?
« Reply #1 on: 17/04/2008 19:34:30 »
Yesterday my Dad killed a 5 1/2 foot rattlesnake in my Moms flower garden.  She said if a snake that big had bitten her that she probably wouldn't have made it back in the house to call 911.

Does the size of the snake affect the toxicity of its venom? In other words, if a 5 1/2 foot rattlesnake bit me would it kill me quicker than a bite from a 1 foot rattlesnake?

It won't, in my opinion, affect the toxicity of the venom, it may increase the amount delivered though. So maybe because there is more venom present in your blood, you might.

I am how ever assuming.
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

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Does the size of a snake matter?
« Reply #2 on: 17/04/2008 23:51:50 »
Ah, something I know a little bit about.

It depends on the exact species. In the case of a Western Diamondback (is that what the snake in question was?), an adult can deliver up to 15 times more venom than a juvenile. So, although a bite from a juvenile would be extremely unpleasant, if the snake were less than 2ft long it would be probably not be fatal1. The venom is not particularly toxic, but an adult delivers massive quantities. However, even a juvenile bite should be treated as an emergency and urgent medical help sought.

 A person in perfect health may be affected more slowly, but the bite could still be fatal if left untreated.

1 I would qualify this statement, however. The venom of most rattlesnakes is hemotoxic. It destroys tissue and organs, and disrupts blood clotting. Therefore, the bite of a juvenile, although not fatal in itself, could cause damage that may lead to complications later in life.
« Last Edit: 17/04/2008 23:53:50 by DoctorBeaver »
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

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Does the size of a snake matter?
« Reply #3 on: 17/04/2008 23:55:15 »
P.S. Unless the flower garden is a few miles from the house, your mother would have made it back to dial 911.
 

Offline Carolyn

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Does the size of a snake matter?
« Reply #4 on: 18/04/2008 00:21:11 »
Thank you Jolly :)

Thanks Eth!  I had always heard the opposite, that a bite from a juvenile was more dangerous, though I could never get a clear answer as to why.  Thanks for clearing that up.

Wonder if that was the same hateful snake that bit my sweet Benji.   [:(!]

I passed along this info to my mom and she says you are incorrect!  She said that she wouldn't have made it back to the house.  She says she would have dropped dead on the spot from a heart attack. :D
« Last Edit: 18/04/2008 02:58:42 by Carolyn »
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

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Does the size of a snake matter?
« Reply #5 on: 18/04/2008 08:08:08 »
Thank you Jolly :)

Thanks Eth!  I had always heard the opposite, that a bite from a juvenile was more dangerous, though I could never get a clear answer as to why.  Thanks for clearing that up.


Again, it depends on the species, and, to a large extent, on the individual snake.

An adult will not inject all of its venom in 1 bite. A juvenile, on the other hand, may well do so. This is significant in snakes that chew to inject. Crotalus (Rattlesnakes) strike and inject very quickly so it is doubtful that a juvenile would have time to inject it all. It's best not to take the chance, though.

Also, studies - Furtado (not Nellie!) et al (1991); Meier (1986); Minton, and Weinstein (1986) - show that the components of the venom can change as the snake ages. Crotalus Atrox (the Western Diamondback) is a species whose venom constituents change with age.
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

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Does the size of a snake matter?
« Reply #6 on: 18/04/2008 08:53:56 »
oops... yo're in Florida, aren't you. I got you muddled up with Karen.

Yours could have been a small Eastern Diamondback or a Timber Rattler.

What markings did it have on its back?

The number of segments in the rattle gives a clue to the snake's age. How many did the snake in question have?

SPAM ALERT ABOVE!!!
 

another_someone

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Does the size of a snake matter?
« Reply #7 on: 18/04/2008 13:02:44 »
But her mother, I believe, is in Georgia.
 

Offline Carolyn

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Does the size of a snake matter?
« Reply #8 on: 18/04/2008 14:45:14 »
But her mother, I believe, is in Georgia.

You believe correctly!  Haha....you know me so well!

oops... yo're in Florida, aren't you. I got you muddled up with Karen.

Yours could have been a small Eastern Diamondback or a Timber Rattler.

What markings did it have on its back?

The number of segments in the rattle gives a clue to the snake's age. How many did the snake in question have?

SPAM ALERT ABOVE!!!

So..even though my parents are in Georgia, I'm assuming it would still be an Eastern Diamondback since it did have diamond's on it and Georgia is not in the west, but 5 1/2 feet is considered small???



 

Offline DoctorBeaver

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Does the size of a snake matter?
« Reply #9 on: 18/04/2008 17:58:19 »
Before I reply to the snake thread, I would like to make it clear that the spam alert referred to a post that has since been deleted.

Right, the Eastern Diamondback. They can be found from North Carolina to Florida and west to Louisiana. The markings on its back are like dark hearts or chevrons. An adult can grow to more than 8ft. It is the largest venomous snake in North America. Its strike distance is approximately 1/3rd its body length.

They tend to shy away from human contact and will only bite as a last resort, mainly if they are being teased or captured. Their staple diet is rats and mice, although they will also take birds and squirrels. So, really, they're good to have around.


(image from National Geographic)
 

Offline Carolyn

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Does the size of a snake matter?
« Reply #10 on: 19/04/2008 00:47:53 »
Thanks for the info Doc.  I think I'd rather have the mice, rats, squirrels and *gulp* even the birds! ;D
 

Offline neilep

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Does the size of a snake matter?
« Reply #11 on: 19/04/2008 01:10:35 »
(Mini Thread-Jack)


What's going on here ?

How do they decide which way to go ?







 

Offline Karen W.

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Does the size of a snake matter?
« Reply #12 on: 19/04/2008 04:21:18 »
(Mini Thread-Jack)


What's going on here ?

How do they decide which way to go ?









Wow.... those are really cool piccy's Neily. I have never seen a two headed nake!!!
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

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Does the size of a snake matter?
« Reply #13 on: 19/04/2008 07:16:38 »
 [:0]

He speak with forked tongue2
 

sooyeah

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Does the size of a snake matter?
« Reply #14 on: 19/04/2008 15:41:49 »
 

Offline animefreak

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Does the size of a snake matter?
« Reply #15 on: 21/04/2008 21:15:18 »
no the size of the snake doesn't matter one of the most of the poisionous snakes in the world are relativly small and most constrictors are relatively large, so size does not matter
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

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Does the size of a snake matter?
« Reply #16 on: 22/04/2008 08:17:58 »
animefreak - Carolyn was asking about different sizes of the same species.

Just as a slight aside, the Australian Inland Taipan (also known as the Fierce snake) is accepted as being the world's most venomous snake. A bite from a Taipan can cause death in 1 hour if anti-venin is not administered immediately. If untreated, the bite is 100% fatal.

The Inland Taipan averages 1.8metres (approx 6'), although they have been known to grow as large as 3.5metres (>10').


(Photo by John Weigel)
 

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Does the size of a snake matter?
« Reply #16 on: 22/04/2008 08:17:58 »

 

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