What to do and what should you avoid if a snake bites you?

You don’t have to travel to an exotic country to have the unpleasant experience of running into a snake. Nor is it about giving up a day outdoors or a hiking trail thinking about possible reptiles. In Spain there are different species of snakes and vipers and the good news is that they have not the slightest interest in crossing you. As experts from the Galician Society of Natural History (SGHN), these animals usually remain hidden, usually under stones (watch out!) or in any nook, and only attack if they feel intimidated or threatened.

The National Institute of Toxicology and Forensic Sciences of the Ministry of Justice (@justiciagob) details that among the most dangerous species that inhabit Spain, the asp viper stands out, recognizable by its upward curved snout and black belly, the viper berus or common European viper, of varied color, the snout viper, with a «little horn» on the tip of the snout and the seoanei viper, who lives mainly in the north, from Galicia to Navarra.

We also have snakes, some poisonous such as the one known as bastard snake, that can reach two meters in length, and others are harmless.

snake bite

How to recognize a bite and what to do?

Cases of snake bites in our country are rare and those that carry serious complications or are fatal are absolutely exceptional.

If you are not an expert, you may be walking through a wooded area, with the presence of water (streams, lagoons …) you notice that «something» has bitten you and you do not know which animal may have been the cause. It is also normal that, even looking at the reptile, you do not know if it is a snake or a dangerous viper. It is also possible that notice the bite minutes after the incident occurred (10 – 15 minutes).

If you haven’t seen the «creature», but notice Intense pain in the area (usually the legs) and even some inflammationLook closely because if a snake bites you, you will clearly see the two holes that its teeth have left, in perfect alignment, although this is indicative, because the «bite» may have occurred in various ways. The bite symptoms will depend on the species, its depth and the amount of venom injected. A severe pain with rapid swelling, so you should immediately remove anything that could oppress the area (rings, bracelets …). It is common for the affected area to take on a worrying purple color. Vomiting, diarrhea, sweating are less frequent episodes, but they can occur (partly due to the supposed poison and also due to fright).

What you should do is go to a health care center immediately, where you will explain what happened and they will be able to administer you, if necessary, the pertinent antivenom serum, while the wound is completely disinfected. Neither cut with a razor and «suck the poison» as in the movies, nor make a tourniquet, nor apply ice … If you have the opportunity, wash the area with clean, fresh water and go to a hospital as soon as possible, just in case. .