Each year, 2.7 million people around the world suffer a serious snakebite envenomation. Between 81,000 to 138,000 are killed and 400,000 more are permanently disabled. In response to this snakebite crisis, in 2017 the World Health Organization classified snakebite as a neglected tropical disease as few efforts exist to reduce snakebite in the Majority World.
To better understand the problems surrounding snakebite, please take the time to watch the documentary Minutes To Die. This important film explores the sheer devastation of snakebite on victims, their families and their communities in some of the most snakebite-afflicted countries.
What About Antivenom?
Antivenom has the potential to save a snakebite victim’s life, but the unfortunate reality is that antivenom is expensive, sometimes not effective and is in short supply for the communities who need it most. Rural communities in tropical countries are the most impacted by the snakebite crisis. Families in these communities are primarily poor with very limited access to health care. A snakebite can destroy not only an individual’s life, but their family’s livelihood as well. Those who do survive a snakebite are often faced with a massive financial debt to pay for antivenom treatment, yet are often unable to return to work or school because of their injuries.
How You Can Help
Save The Snakes and our Conservation Partners implement sustainable solutions in communities impacted by snakebite and together we mitigate human-snake conflict. You can support our work by donating today, which will help fund snake awareness and snakebite treatment workshops. Together we can save snakes and protect people in communities impacted by snakebite.
How To Prevent Snakebite
Snakebite is preventable. With a basic understanding of snake ecology and simple changes to daily routines, most snakebites could be avoided.
1 – BE SNAKE AWARE
Snakes are generally shy animals and prefer to hide in dark areas, like cracks or crevices, or under logs and rocks. When walking, playing or gardening, be conscious of where you put your hands and feet, so you don’t accidentally touch or step on a snake. Ask yourself, “Could a snake be there?” That’s being snake aware!
2 – USE A LIGHT AT NIGHT
Some snake species are most active at dusk or at night. Always use a light when you walk at night to avoid stepping on a snake in the dark.
3 – RODENT PROOF YOUR HOME
Keep rats and mice away from your home, because they will attract snakes. Snakes will search for food where there is prey. No food? No snakes
4- MAKE YOUR HOME & YARD SNAKE SAFE
Keep paths clear, cut grass short and remove debris that accumulates near your home. Examine your home, see a place a snake could get into? Close up cracks and other openings.
5 – RESPECT THE SNAKE
If you find a snake, do not try and pick it up or kill it. Snakes are not aggressive, so watch it from a safe distance. If outside, after some time the snake will move off on its own. If inside and you do not feel comfortable removing it yourself safely, call your local snake rescuer for assistance.
For additional information about snakebite and snakebite first aid, please visit Snakebiteawareness.org.
Infographic: How To Prevent Snakebite
Translation provided by Lucía D’Amore
Translation provided by Ana Bottallo
Translation provided by Andrie Bon Flores
Translation provided by Jasper Jan Dy & Andrie Bon Flores
Translation provided by Jean-Jay Mao