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 India alone, over 46,000 people die from snakebite, which accounts for almost half of worldwide snakebite deaths. Casualty statistics are underestimates, as many deaths are never recorded. 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 low-and middle-income countries.
Watch a featurette from the documentary Minutes To Die, as it 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.
However, snakebite is a preventable disease. With a basic understanding of snake ecology and simple changes to daily routines, most snakebites could be avoided.
How To Prevent Snakebite
1 – Watch where you put your feet and hands, so you don’t accidentally touch or step on a snake.
2 – Always use a light when you walk at night to avoid stepping on a snake in the dark.
3 – Keep rats and mice away from your home, because they will attract snakes.
4- Keep paths clear, cut grass short and remove debris that accumulates near your home.
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
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.