TEN Interesting Facts About Venomous Snakes in Malaysia That You May Not Know

While researching for facts for a First aid book manuscript by my colleauges and I, I have stumbled upon many interesting facts about venomous snake bites in Malaysia. I have compiled them and placed them in this blog post. Free reference resources that I have used are found at the end of this blog post.

1. Most snakes in Malaysia are harmless to human 17 out of the 105 strictly land snakes are venomous Even bites of venomous snakes are not life threatening in humans unless sufficient venom is injected at the time of bite. In fact, most are dry bites. The problem, however, is the accurate identification by the witnesses. Because we are not sure whether the snake is venomous or not, coupled with the fact that there is no simple physical features criteria to differentiate venomous from non-venomous snakes, the victim should be treated with vigilant medical care for the benefit of doubt. 2. All sea snakes in Malaysia are venomous, they are powerful and dangerous to human. All 14 species of fresh water snakes are harmless but all 22 species of sea snakes are venomous Most sea snakes live along shallow coastal water and therefore, fishermen is the group of people most at risk to be bitten by sea snake.

and therefore. Kedah and Penang. it can be easily found!! . Unfortunately. 4. According to many studies.19 years old. but the venom of this snake is rated four to eight times as toxic as cobra venom. 5. fish stings are painful). sea snake bites have little or no pain. and no edema (or only with a mild local reaction) at the site of bite.Enhydrina schistosa Enhydrina schistosa is the most common and dangerous sea snakes along the coast and in river mouths of Peninsular Malaysia. most (about 2/3rd) of the snake bites in Malaysia are due to the Malaysian pit viper bites. 3. (On the contrary. but rather will stay on at the same spot despite several hours after the attack. This may surprise some people. and it commonly affects the age group of 10 . Snake bites are twice as common in males as in females. A peculiar characteristic of the Malayan pit viper is that it will not easily move away. And about 75% of these cases are confined to the northern states of Perlis.

It only attack when provoked.This earn the Malayan pit viper the Malay name "ULAR KAPAK BODOH" (translated as "the dumb pit viper") [click here to read the article "The Medically Important Poisonous Snakes In Malaysia" by Prof Tan Nget Hong] Triangular head of the Malayan pit viper 6. or accidentally stepped on. Contrary to what many people believe. In fact. the king cobra can be extremely dangerous because of the large amount of venom it is capable of delivering in a bite. the King Cobra is actually not an aggressive snake. . And if cornered. it keeps out of people's way.

the follow four assumptions must also be answered: 1. In fact. They should be taken just as seriously as bites by large snakes of the same species. a full envenomation from a young snake maybe more dangerous than a partial envenomation from an adult snake? 9. although a "dumb" snake. They are therefore more dangerous than adult snakes. that for this legend to be true. But suffice to summarily say here (to borrow the argument from that blog post). the pair of sharp fangs as well as the more elliptical eyes as compared to the rounded eyes of non venomous snakes. small or baby snakes are less harmful. the Malayan pit viper. It’s repeated so often that it’s become a sort of mantra among laypeople and biologists alike! Whether this legend is true or not is beyond the scope of this medically focused post as this is more of a herpetology question (for a more extensive discussion of this questionable nature of baby snake. although large snakes tend to inject more venom than smaller specimens of the same species. bites by small snakes should not be ignored or dismissed. quick to strike if disturbed. which will restrict the amount of venom that accompanies a bite. the venom of smaller. Therefore. as the snake mature. this means that snakes are able to control the amount of venom they inject? 2. younger vipers may be richer in some dangerous components.7. some harmless snakes have evolved to look almost identical to venomous ones. it is a bad tempered snake. On the other hand. There is no simple rule to differentiate a venomous snake from a non-venomous snake although certain features are notoriously seen in venomous snakes like a spreading hood in cobra. click here for this blog post). this means that there is some disadvantage to a snake when it injects all of its venom in every bite? (otherwise why not inject all of their venom all of the time?) 3. such as those affecting haemostasis. One should not assume that bites from the young. and as a result. . the snake learns of the disadvantages of injecting all venoms and therefore. Quite the contrary! According to the WHO management guidelines for snake bites in South East Asia region (see link below for free download of this excellent manual). change its behavior? 4. 8. a triangular head and Loreal pits between the eyes and the nostril of a pit viper. there is a legend that says that the young snakes have not yet learned how to control the amount of venom they inject. Nevertheless.

spreading hood and elliptical eyes of a king cobra .The pair of fangs.

an infrared sensor organ 10. Although the toxins in the venoms are a mixture of many things. the Elapidae produces venom that is predominantly NEUROTOXIN (causes paralysis including resp muscle paralysis). Do not handle a dead snake as reflex envenomation by the decapitated head of the snake can still occurs up to several hours after its death!! In a website.The loreal pits colored red . coagulopathy) and the sea snakes produce venom that is predominantly MYOTOXIN plus neurotoxin. One of the important aspects that I did not include the post is the different types of toxins produced by the different venomous snakes. the viperidae (the vipers) and the sea snakes. it is quoted that reflex envenomation causes up to 3% of snake bites. I . The venomous snakes in Malaysia are basically three groups: the elapidae (which includes cobra or naja and the kraits). the Viperidae produces venom that is predominantly HEMOTOXIN (causes bleeding.

usually memorize them like this: EN (Elapidae = neurotoxin). . I am not sure exactly how to explain that sleepiness. I suppose the person in the Discovery Channel program who got bitten in the sea had gangrenous area because of the MYOTOXIN causing myonecrosis. SM (sea snakes = myotoxin). and die. In one of the articles. not waking up. which can result in rhamdomyolysis. deteriorated into a comatose state. VH (Viperidae = hemotoxin). So. it is also mentioned that sea snake bite can also cause sleepiness. renal failure. etc. where the victim went to sleep.