Why it's easy to handle venomous snakes - and dangerous

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Why it's easy to handle venomous snakes - and dangerous

Most of the time, you can get away with taking some pretty extreme liberties with the person of a venomous snake. You can get inside its strike range where it is physically capable of biting you, and nothing will happen. This fact often encourages people who have gotten away with this a few times to continue doing it, confident that nothing will ever happen. Maybe you will get away with it a hundred times. The tragedy happens when the odds catch up to you the hundred and first time, and the snake that never bit you before reacts unpredictably and does what it was perfectly capable of doing all along. If you are physically within its strike range and something unexpectedly triggers a defensive or feeding reaction, you will be bitten.

A lot of things can trigger a defensive or feeding strike. Your body heat can do the trick for a pit viper. The scent of anything resembling food can also do it, even if that scent is just wafting along on the breeze. If you move "wrong", either like prey or like a predator looming over the snake, you may be bitten. You really don't know what the snake might suddenly decide to do, or what kind of behavior some unknown stimulus might trigger. So it's much smarter not to give a snake the physical ability to bite you in the first place, even if you believe that it is unlikely to try to bite.

The consequences of a venomous snakebite are absolutely horrible. Huge hospital bills, agonizingly painful loss of a hand or finger as your flesh slowly melts off the bone in necrosis, long term health impairment, loss of renal functions, dialysis, internal hemorrhaging and of course death. These are the things you are risking when you put your hands in a position where a venomous snake is physically capable of biting them. This is really a very poor risk, so it's a good idea to take the extra minute to take more stringent safety precautions than you might think you need. A truly determined and motivated snake can accomplish some amazingly acrobatic feats, and you don't really know what might suddenly motivate it.

   

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