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The snakes of Cambodia: poisonous and harmless, which is to be afraid of what to do when bitten

The snakes of Cambodia are regal and venomous

The proximity of Cambodia to the equator explains its magnificent tropical forests, the riot of greenery, the abundance of birds, insects, frogs. Wet land, tall grass and a lot of easy prey — the snakes of Cambodia live as if in a reptile paradise.


Going to get acquainted with the richness of nature and culture of Southeast Asia, the traveler should be aware of what poisonous beauty he can meet on the sightseeing trail and how to avoid unpleasant consequences.

Snake anthropogenic landscape — Malay shtomomordnik

Of the 42 species of snakes in Cambodia, only seven represent a serious danger. But these creatures are secretive, preferring a deserted jungle. The real threat to the tourist comes from those instances who are not afraid to crawl to the outskirts of cities and courtyards of hotels. Among them is the insidious and swift Malay shtomomordnik from the family of venom alpes.

The skin image of this meter-long snake completely merges with the surrounding landscape: half-rotten leaves, branches and grass. The moths seem to know about their invisibility and, sensing the approach of a person, do not move. It attacks unexpectedly and very accurately.

[quote font = «arial» font_style = «italic»] Two-centimeter teeth bite into the body and inject poison, which by its nature is a digestive enzyme. [/ quote]

While the shieldfish slowly swallows a frog or a rodent, the poison begins to slowly destroy the prey cells, and the food gets into the stomach already half-digested. On humans, the poison has a similar effect, although not on such a scale: the blood carries the enzyme away from the bite site, greatly diluting it. However, the breakdown of tissues causes severe intoxication. It is this snake that most often appears in the statistics of attacks, and more often in the dry season of the year, favorable for tourism.

Specifically, the antidote has not yet been developed against the poison of the Malay shchitomordnika; therefore, the usual antimethiol serum is administered to the victim. You can protect yourself from a meeting with a little killer, remembering his mainly night activity.

Russell’s Viper is another lover of urban fringe

The poisonous snakes of Cambodia are amazingly beautiful. Russell’s Viper, she’s a daboya, is no exception. On the golden background of her skin stretched the rows of spots bordered with a black contour, for which she received another name — the chain viper. She is one of the four most dangerous snakes in Southeast Asia.

Daboya hunts at night. In search of rats and mice, she often crawls on farms, in settlements and even in houses. The snake behaves cautiously, moves slowly, but when frightened becomes aggressive, and darkness gives it courage.

Most of the attacks are caused by the fact that when a person wakes up and sees a snake, he starts tossing, shouting and throwing objects into his intruder. The poison of the chain adder causes blood coagulation, turns it into a kind of red curd. The best prevention of death from total thrombosis — strong mosquito nets on the windows and tightly closed doors.

Tape krayt — the only black and yellow snake in Cambodia

Like any other edge, tape has a characteristic feature — the crest on the back, which makes the body triangular in cross section. The color of this deadly poisonous handsome consists of alternating black and yellow stripes. Such a drawing makes the snake look like a signal tape with which the American police are protecting the crime scene.

The kraits are the most dangerous snakes of Cambodia. In a rage, they inflict many bites, trying to inject as much venom as possible, the neurotoxins of which easily penetrate into the brain and destroy the respiratory center. There are tape edge in fairly dry places with an abundance of burrows and other shelters.

Royal family

In Cambodia, there are four species of cobras. Of these, the most impressive is the king cobra, whose average length is 3-4 meters. In one bite, such a snake can inject up to 7 ml of neurotoxic poison, blocking the work of the respiratory muscles. Of all the cobras, the royal is the most calm and therefore the least dangerous.

The spectacle cobra has more modest dimensions — only up to 2 meters, but it often creeps into city parks. Scaring the enemy, she inflates the skin on the neck, which is why the eye-shaped pattern is straightened from behind.

Seeing a pair of eyes on a cobra, the enemy no longer understands which side of the snake’s mouth falls, and prefers not to mess with it.

The most nervous cobra is monocle, named for the single “eye” on the back of the hood. She loves rice checks and other over-humid places, she avoids a person, so a tourist is unlikely to meet with her.

But the Siamese cobra, with a contrasting black and white color, populates any ecological niches. Exploring new territory, it may even be in the center of the city.

What other snakes can be found in Cambodia

In the coastal shrub thickets are found bright green yellow-eyed keffias. They are very difficult to see in the foliage, but they themselves do not strive for communication, slip away through the branches, barely seeing a stranger. The poison of kufy affects the kidneys, but only very sensitive people lead to death.

The curious drilocalamus, or wedding snakes. To survive, some of their varieties resort to deception: they are painted exactly like the black and white Malay krayt, although they do not have poisonous glands.

Cambodian snakes oligodons are interesting for their back teeth, like can openers. With their help, seemingly innocuous cannibals cannibals rip the leathery shells of the eggs of other snakes to calmly drink the contents.

Snakes in everyday life cambodians

For centuries, living side by side with such dangerous neighbors, the locals came up with many legends about snakes and found these animals used in cooking and medicine. According to ancient Khmer mythology, the divine snake-like Nagi, having risen once from under the earth under the light of the Sun, turned into people. And the bed of the Mekong River is a trail of a giant snake that once crawled across the country to the ocean.

Folk healers in Cambodia believe that every part of the cobra’s body is capable of healing. The heart of a newly killed snake is eaten while it is still beating — this supposedly prolongs life. Drunk snake bile supposedly gives the eyes an incredible vigilance, and blood mixed with alcohol increases potency. On any snake farm of the country, tourists will be offered dozens of local medicines made from reptiles.

In rural areas and even in cities, you can see how children catch snakes — in Cambodia, this is not uncommon because of the general poverty of the population. Even very young children perfectly distinguish harmless species and hunt mainly on snakes, oligodons, pythons. But the most exquisite delicacies of Cambodians are made from poisonous snakes, in particular, from cobras.

How to protect yourself from encounters with dangerous snakes

To live a couple of weeks in the tropics and never meet a live tape with a forked tongue, you need to know in which places these reptiles prefer to settle. They need shelters: burrows, fallen trees, tall grass, where you can hunt and hide at the same time. The wetlands are ideal for them, where frogs join the rodents and birds as prey. Often snakes are hiding among plantations of reeds and heveas.

Dangerous snakes of Cambodia show maximum activity at night during the wet season, but this does not mean that they cannot be met at another time.

Among the tropics traveler’s commandments are:

  • beware of accumulations of plant debris and just thick grass;
  • Do not touch hanging vines or unusual plants.
  • wear high shoes and closed clothes;
  • do not descend from the trodden paths;
  • look under your feet.

If the snake finally appeared in front of the person, the best solution is to let it go. The reptile does not at all seek to squander its poison on the first comer, it is afraid of a person and wants to quickly escape. Even if the snake took a threatening pose, you should not wave your arms, throw stones at it and turn your back. To freeze and very slowly retreat is the right strategy for those who do not wish to experience the charms of the bite.

The snake still bit: what to do?

Treatment for a snakebite is not cheap, but it is not provided everywhere, so it is advisable to take out a medical insurance that covers transport costs before the trip. Serums are available at clinics in Phnom Penh, Kampong Cham, Kampong Som and Sihanoukville. There are also artificial respirators, necessary in the case of a bite of a cobra and krayta.

The best «antimixer» clinic in Cambodia is considered to be «Snake House», located in Sihanoukville. It is headed by a doctor of Russian origin Nikolai Doroshenko.

First aid includes the following measures:

  • lay the victim on his back;
  • if the bite fell on a limb, fix it;
  • try to remember the appearance of the attacking snake;
  • give a sedative and antihistamine, plenty of drink;
  • must support psychologically;
  • in no case offer alcohol;
  • as soon as possible to deliver to the hospital.

The first 15-20 minutes it makes sense to suck the poison, and this can be done with a syringe without a needle. The imposition of a tight dressing above the wound will stop the spread of poison through the lymphatic vessels. As edema increases, it must be relaxed.

[quote font = «arial» font_style = «italic»] But the harness is contraindicated because it concentrates the digestive enzymes of the poison in one place. [/ quote]

Doctors are also categorically against the cuts of the wound, its cauterization, the use of folk remedies such as grass and clay — all this can worsen the condition of the victim.

Despite the formidable look and grave danger, the beautiful snakes of Cambodia seem to attract the human eye with a magnet. If you wish, you can always admire it at the zoo of Phnom Penh and other cities, without risking your nerves and health.

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