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Old 07-20-04, 07:36 PM   #1
Join Date: Feb-2002
Location: Ontario
Age: 44
Posts: 1,659
Venomous Snakes FAQ Sheet: Check here first!

<b>Venomous Snakes: FAQ’s</b>

<b>Do venomous snakes make good pets?</b>
Absolutely not. While they often make beautiful display animals, venomous snakes are not pets and many other reptiles make much better pets.

<b>I want to become involved with venomous snakes, what is the first step?</b>
The first step would be to take the time to research these animals in depth. Considers the reasons you want to get into venomous snakes and weigh them against the risk you are taking working with them. If you still decide you want to keep venomous snakes seek out an experience venomous keeper to “mentor” you on the keeping and handling techniques. This will take time, but be very beneficial to you in the future. Once you and your “mentor” agree that you are ready, set up a hot room and choose a suitable first species.

<b>What is the best first hot snake?</b>
This question does not have an easy answer and is much a matter of opinion. The best choice would involve a species which venom is not typically lethal and one which is less of a handful to manipulate. Copperheads are a common first choice because of their relatively lower toxicity and manageable handleability. Rear-fanged species (excluding Boomslangs and Twig snakes) are the choice of some keepers as well. From here you can move on as you become more comfortable. A quick search on the venomous forum will yield many opinion without having to resurrect this popular topic over and over again.

<b>What do I need in a hot room?</b>
First and foremost, the room must be free from any escape routes and not be cluttered. Many keepers will elevate cages off the floor to ensure that a snake cannot get in behind the cages at all. Proper lighting is also helpful in a well equipped hot room. Tools such as hooks and tongs are essential. There are many styles and types of hooks and tongs, but the most important feature is that you are comfortable using the ones you choose. Some many feel too heavy or too light; choose one that suits you. Restraining tubes come in handy when sexing, force feeding and a number of other uses. An Emergency Package is one of the most important aspects of a hot room.

<b>What should my Emergency Package include?</b>
- Vital heath and medical information about yourself
- Photos along with common and scientific names of the species you keep
- Information about the snakes geological distribution and type of venom
- Phone numbers of emergency contacts, hospital and poison control
- Directions to the nearest hospital
- Any notes you may wish hospital officials to have should you be unable to communicate
- Snakebite protocol from the minute of envenomation to what needs to be done to stabilze the person
- Venom composition information from international venom and toxin database (not extremely necessary, but goes into detail of exactly what comprises the venom)
- Anything else you think may help, it cant hurt

<b>Do I need or can I get Antivenin?</b>
While your goal should be to avoid a bite, accidents do happen and you will need a plan. Think of what you will do in the event of a bite if you do not have antivenin. It is simply irresponsible to rely on the supply of antivenin from a local zoo to bail you out in the event of an accident. Most North American hospitals in the range of venomous snakes will carry local antivenin, but it is smart to check first. You can contact suppliers of antivenin and look into the possibility of selling you small amounts. Most Antivenin is not an FDA approved drug and therefore may not be possible to obtain for everyone. Talk to your doctor and he/she may be able to help you get some AV.

<b>Are venomous snakes legal where I live?</b>
This question is very locally specific. Contact your city’s by-law office and ask if the species you are interested in are regulated or not.

<b>Which Antivenin is used for North American Snakes?</b>
All venomous species of Canada and The United States (except for coral snakes) are treated with Protherics CroFab. For more information and FAQ about CroFab visit

<b>How do I treat a sick venomous snake?</b>
Very carefully. While certain techniques can be used to administer drugs, force feed etc., you should have the name and number of a vet that will treat venomous animals in the event that you do not feel comfortable handling yourself or if you need prescription medication.

<b>Are baby snakes less venomous than adults?</b>
No. While the typical output of venom from a neonate is less than that of an adult is less, neonates do not posses control of venom yield. An adult has the choice to administer a dry bite or a bite with minimal venom. A neonate does not have this control over its venom glands and therefore will administer a full yield, making it as much of a threat to your heath as an adult.

<b>What is Anaphylactic Shock?</b>
If you are allergic to the venom of a snake, when bitten you may go into what is called anaphylactic shock. This can kill you much faster than the snake bite itself would have. It will generally cause cardiac arrest within a short period of time. There may be some link between allergies of other venom types (i.e. bee stings) and allergies to snake venom.

<b>What are the types of snake venom?</b>
Venoms can very broadly to divided into two types; neurotoxic and hemotoxic. Hemotoxic venoms affect the blood, muscles and organs. Bleeding occurs and necrosis (tissue death) is a possibility. These bites are typically painful and may involve the loss of digits or limbs. Neurotoxic bites affect the nervous system and may result in the loss of respiratory function and lead to death. While a snake usually won’t fit directly into one division, they may be broadly placed in either of these two.

<b>What is the most dangerous species of snake?</b>
The one that just bit you. Any species can be dangerous, treat any venomous snake bite like it is a serious medical situation.
Matt Rudisi
~Reptiles Canada~
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