China post #40, China 2012

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Kevin Messenger
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China post #40, China 2012

Post by Kevin Messenger » August 28th, 2012, 2:04 am

A link to the previous post, Hong Kong 2011: http://www.fieldherpforum.com/forum/vie ... f=2&t=9668

China 2012 (May to October)

This series will be a long “season.” Season 1 = 2006, Season 2 = 2008, Season 3 = 2011, and now Season 4. Many things going on this year. How to start, ok, let’s start with how it came to be (funding). I applied for the NSF sponsored grant called EAPSI (East Asian and Pacific Summer Institutes) which accepts grants to any of the following countries: China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, New Zealand, and Australia. The requirements are that you have to be a grad student. A certain number of students per country are accepted. For China, that number is 40. I think all of the countries combined we had about 200 fellows awarded. Simultaneously, my university (Alabama A & M University) is hosting the NSF sponsored program called REU (Research Experience for Undergrads) – my advisor, Dr. Yong Wang, and I thought that this might be a great way to A) get me some free labor, and B) get an undergrad a very unique REU experience. I personally did the REU at SREL during my sophomore year in college, which I loved, but had I gotten the chance to do it in Asia, obviously I would have done that! This was year 1 of AAMU’s REU program. I believe we have the grant for 2 more summers then we have to re-apply. So, among the potential REU students I selected my favorite two and then the committee selected the final applicant, Iwo Gross from Eastern Illinois University.

The downside to the EAPSI grant was that the program didn’t officially “start” until June 11th, and it ended on August 2nd. In my opinion this is WAY too short. The REU program started in late May. I wanted to get to China as soon as possible and make the most of my time there, because once you’re there, expenses are WAY down when it comes to daily living. The fiasco in Costa Rica (see post: http://www.fieldherpforum.com/forum/vie ... =2&t=12615) but a bit of a delay on my initial plans. I had to re-purchase a camera (upgraded to a Canon 7D), I had to buy two new lenses, and a new laptop, plus a few other odds and ends. Instead of leaving around 15 May like I had hoped, Iwo and I left around 24 May, arriving in Shanghai on 25 May. My thought process was to do ShenNongJia for a few days just before the 5th Asian Herpetology Conference in Chengdu. We exited the airport around 4pm (4am on our internal clocks).

We took a shuttle to the south railway station where we met Dr. Wang’s brother who had purchased us train tickets from Shanghai to Wuhan – a soft sleeper (through the course of his stay, Iwo would get to experience nearly every mode of transportation within China, including the less luxurious modes – a soft sleeper being one of the best).

26 May 2012
We arrived in Wuchang around 8am. We walked out of the train station and headed next door to the bus station. After our 10 hr train ride, we now had a 5 hr bus ride from Wuhan to Yichang. We arrived in Yichang around 2pm. Now we had to find a taxi for the 5 hr ride from Yichang to Muyu (ShenNongJia). The taxi driver wanted 150 Yuan each. He took a different route, instead of going the route I was used to he went up on top of the mountain ridge before finally dropping down into Xingshan (the “big town” just south of Muyu). While on the mountain ridge I saw a large King rat (Elaphe carinata) coming on to the road. I yelled for the driver to stop, which he did eventually, but of course the snake was gone by now. Oh well, at least he didn’t hit it.

We arrived into Muyu around 7pm. I went to the only other hotel I really knew, Vanessa’s old hotel, XueYuen. It had internet at least and was decently priced. They immediately welcomed me when I set foot outside the taxi. I asked the owner if he knew Xie Dong’s phone number, so I could let him know I was here in town. They called him up and within a few minutes Xie Dong and Mr. Yang showed up. They asked if we had eaten, which of course we had not, and wanted to get a bite to eat.
They treated us to a lot of beer and as usual, a fantastic dinner.
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(except for these, century eggs, they are not fantastic)



Xie Dong asked what I wanted to do during my stay. I wanted to go to Pingqian for a day or two, but that we had to leave on the 30th or so to head to Chengdu for the herp conference. Tomorrow I wanted to be a “catch-up” day, just hang around Muyu mostly, maybe visit Guamenshan and look at some specimens.

27 May 2012
We headed to Guamenshan. I needed to get some measurements on some juvenile Oligodon ningshaanensis that I collected from 2006 (some of the babies that I hatched from that year – see post #15:http://www.fieldherpforum.com/forum/vie ... f=2&t=4010).

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They also wanted to show me a chunk of property that they are wanting to convert into an outdoor enclosure for a few snake species. Mr. Yang wants to make a sort of exhibit for people to view snakes, but he wants it to be as natural as possible, not indoors or in a terrarium. The place is going to be huge, about 15 meters deep, 37 meters wide and 3 or 4 meters tall (the glass fence). It will be interesting to say the least. I wish I had more time to dedicate to helping them make sure the habitat inside the enclosure is suitable enough, and make sure they pick the right species for display.

We stopped by the outdoor Andrias breeding facility, where they had 38 individuals they were raising and breeding for captive releases:
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(same individual from 2006, only now about 5 ft long….)

Lunch that afternoon:
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28 May 12:
Today we headed to Pingqian. My favorite field site. We would spend a day or two here before heading to Yichang to buy train tickets to Chengdu. On the drive over the mountains we stopped at the top for some photos (since this was Iwo’s first time to Shennongjia):

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We arrived around 11am. We had about an hour to do some herping before lunch. We headed over to my hillside and started flipping rocks. We found 10 Achalinus spinalis (including tiny juveniles):
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(pics from last year)

a Sibynophis chinensis:
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a Lycodon liuchengchaoi
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and 2 Rhabdophis nuchalis.

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Pretty good start to the day. No Protobothrops though. No worries, I’m sure we’ll get one in the afternoon.

Lunch was awesome as usual.
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Thankfully our host was cool with just drinking beer. He said we’d have baijiu (liquor) in the evening. After our lunch we rested for about 1 hour before our afternoon outing.

Mr. Yang and Xie Dong went out with us. Mr. Yang was in the lead and let out a “oh! There’s a snake” type noise. I looked up, just to see a Protobothrops diving into a big pile of rocks – the typical behavior of the species. I ran up to the pile. By now the majority of the snakes body was already deep into the rock pile, or so I thought. I grabbed the last bit of tail and got ready to position the hook in front of the hole to support the rest of the body was it was being pulled out. As I grabbed the tail I saw a flash of snake come out of the hole. I jerked my hand back. Iwo asked “did he get you??” “No, I don’t think so.” Then I looked down at my knuckle and saw a drop of blood. I was in disbelief. “Hmmm… I guess he did. I don’t feel anything though, so it might have been a dry bite.”

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I pinned the snake and pulled him out into the open so Iwo could get some shots.

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(a pretty ugly specimen of a P. jerdonii, but this is the individual that got me)

Xie Dong asked if I was alright. “I think it’s alright. I think it was a dry bite. Let’s wait about 5 minutes and see what happens.” The following is my “write up” of the bite:

2:22pm (0:00 hrs) – bitten on right hand by a decent sized (~1 m) Protobothrops jerdonii (Jerdon’s pit-viper). Fangs punctured either side of 2nd knuckle (distal and proximal orientation). No immediate pain. First thoughts were that the bite was dry. Snake was captured and moved into the open for photographs.
0:05 – Starting to feel “abnormal effects.” I sat down just in case. Tingling shooting down the inside of my legs was the first sensation. I could feel some type of “light headedness”/ dizziness beginning to set in. About this time I mentioned the fact that we should probably go to the hospital as it was obviously not a dry bite.
0:10 – while walking back to the car, weakness of the legs set in. I needed assistance in walking. I was told my speech was also slurring. Vision was not clear but I was not unconscious. It was similar to being very drunk, or a dream like state. Kind of like being able to remember bits and pieces of the experience. Once back at the car, I felt tired and wanted to sleep. I was also thirsty and requested water. I was told I should not drink water and was not given any. Someone placed a tourniquet on me which I untied.
For about 45 to 50 minutes I was “out of it” – everything felt like a dream state. I recall feeling hot and rolled down the window for some fresh air.
0:50 – Lucid and feeling fine, except for a swollen hand, which I could still flex with ease. Requested water again, which I was denied. Suggested going to the local hospital for fluids and antibiotics and that I did not need to go to a “major” hospital further away. Chinese friends insisted I go to the first major town for a hospital (Xingshan – about 3 hours away), but that I may end up going to Yichang (an additional 4-5 hours from Xingshan), and that if Yichang was not good enough, then Wuhan (another 5 hours from Yichang), and as a last resort, Beijing (about 12 hours from Wuhan). I could feel tingling in my ankles, and if I grazed them, they would start itching. The same was the case with my neck and head. This was pretty weird. It was as if the venom had essentially reached the entire aspect of my body, from head to toe.
3:30 hrs (6pm) – arrived at Xingshan Hospital.

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4:00 hrs – began fluids (antibiotics and saline). They also injected my hand with lidocaine and tried to express some of the swelling in my hand manually. Afterward they crushed up 10 pills of traditional snake bite medicine (brand name is “JiDeSheng SheYao Pian”) and smeared it on my hand (except for the bite site) and forearm.

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They also made me eat 20 tablets of the same stuff. They also gave me a tetanus shot.

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(the dark color is the crap they smeared on me - the "snake bite medicine")

Swelling has progressed very slowly.

29 May 12:
Swelling is worse. Left hand is swollen as well, as if it was stung by a bee. Still no pain, no discoloration, no bruising.
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8am (17.5 hours post bite) – transferred to Yichang Hospital. Xingshan hospital claimed that they did not have the medicine to “save me.” They felt my life was in danger and that the best case scenario my hand or arm was in danger of being amputated. I tried to express the fact that they are blowing everything out of proportion, but was unable to. They did not want to listen to me downplay the “deadliness” of the species.

2:30pm (24 hours) – arrival at Yichang Hospital

There was a problem with my credit card. Apparently Visa and China Construction Bank don’t agree with one another. So around this time my nurse (Yang Niu, her name means “goat cow”) came to tell me that we needed to go back down stairs and find money somehow. In China, at the hospital, every patient pays Y2,000 ($316) up front, and then you basically chip away at that value. So we went to the ATM – no luck, it wouldn’t recognize my card. So my nurse said she would loan me the 2,000 Yuan and I could pay her back later. She felt like my card would work at Bank of China.

Thankfully English was more common here. My nurse knew English very well and my first doctor had a pretty good understanding as well. He asked me what I thought about the bite. I told him it was not serious and that all I needed was fluids and antibiotics. I also mentioned that in the US where I worked, for snakebites we would give dexamethasone or prednisone. He agreed to all of that as well. He also suggested I get antivenom, which is one of the main reasons I was transferred, because Yichang had antivenom, whereas Xingshan did not. I tried explaining at Xingshan that antivenom was exactly what I did NOT need and that it would be more dangerous than beneficial. This was impossible to get across in Xingshan. Thankfully in Yichang this wasn’t the case. I told my doctor that antivenom was only effective in the first three hours or so of the bite and that by now there was no more venom in my system, so the antivenom would basically be useless. He agreed with me that it was most beneficial directly after the bite but still thought it would be somewhat beneficial. I asked him if I could look at the bottle. He brought me a box labeled “Agkistrodon antivenom” – this was obviously meant to be Gloydius by now. He also told me that it was made from horses. I thanked him for bringing it to me but still declined it. He told me I would need to sign a waiver saying that I declined it. No problem.

The next step they wanted to do was to try and alleviate the swelling in my hand, so they gave me some shots of lidocaine and injected some DMSO in my hand and then proceeded to poke about 2 dozen additional holes in my hand, between my 2nd and 3rd metacarpals. There was no immediate oozing and I personally think the swelling increased as a result of the new trauma. Shot before the procedure:

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4:30pm (26 hours) – blood work
WBC (increased): 15.80 (norm: 4 – 10)
Platelets (increased): 327 (norm: 100 – 300)
Neutrophils % (increased): 82.5% (norm: 45 – 75%)
Neutrophils count (increased): 13.04 (norm: 2 – 7)
Hematocrit (increased): 0.38% (norm: 0.1 – 0.3%)
Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (increased): 42 (norm: 0 – 15)
Direct-bilirubin (increased): 6.82 (norm: 0 – 6)
Lactate dehydrogenase (increased): 288 (norm: 109 – 245)
Lymph (decreased): 11.1% (norm: 20 – 40%)

Urinalysis: all values normal

Next was my first round of treatment. They don’t do permanent IVs, they use butterfly catheters and stick you each time you get a treatment. I got 3 bottles (2 bottles connected to one line, then they switch out one of the bottles after one of them finishes) – no pumps either, just gravity drips. One bottle of saline, one of antibiotics, and one of DMSO. Each bottle was between 250 or 500 ml.

After my treatment my nurse asked if we were hungry and if we wanted to go out to eat. This seemed a little weird, but “yeah, sure.” She walked us out of the hotel and down the street where we hailed a taxi and went to a place that her friend owned. It was very good. She asked if I wanted a beer. “Ummm… you’re the nurse, should I really be having a beer while staying at the hospital and getting medicine??” “I think one bottle of beer is ok.” Ha. “Ok.” At dinner she asked me about our plans. I told her that we had a conference to attend on June 1st in Chengdu. “Have you bought tickets yet?” “No, I was hoping to do that tomorrow maybe.” “Hold on, I have a friend that can help out.” She went upstairs and came back down with a friend that had some sort of connection with the railway stations. He asked which day we wanted, then asked if we had an ID card. I gave him my driver’s license, Iwo gave his passport – 30 seconds later, everything was done. YangNiu said we’d have the tickets tomorrow. Wow, that is fortunate. One of the problems I was thinking about back in Shennongjia, before the bite, was how we were going to get the tickets. It couldn’t be done in Shennongjia, they had to be purchased in Yichang, which kind of meant we would have had to of been in Yichang on the 29th or 30th. Buying tickets the day before is kind of pushing it. I try to put positive spins of situations, so this means the only day we missed out of was the 29th field wise. Initially I was more upset over the time lost from the bite than anything else, but in reality it was only one day – so that’s not too bad. We now had the ticket problem solved and I was very thankful for that. Buying train tickets at the station itself can be an immense pain!

After dinner we drove around until we found a Bank of China where I was able to pull out some money and then pay her back the Y2,000 she had put up for me. Up until this point I had been using left over money from last year that I never exchanged back into USD.

The walking around I think spurred the oozing that they were trying to accomplish with the perforating of the hand. I had a lot of oozing by now. After the ATM, we headed back to the hospital where I had another round of meds, and that was it for the 29th.

30 May 12:
First thing in the morning is blood work:
9:33am (39 hrs)
WBC (increased): 10.13 (norm: 4 – 10)
Neutrophils % (increased): 90.7% (norm: 45 – 75%)
Neutrophils count (increased): 9.19 (norm: 2 – 7)
Lymph (decreased): 7.2% (norm: 20 – 40%)
Eosinophils % (decreased): 0.2% (norm: 0.5 – 5%)
Eosinophils count (decreased): 0.02 (norm: 0.05 – 0.5)
Monocytes (decreased): 1.8% (norm: 3 – 10%)
Lymph cells (decreased): 0.73 (norm: 0.8 – 4)
Overnight I had positioned my arm in an upside down position to try and facilitate the oozing. The entire upper right corner of my hospital bed was pretty wet with lymphatic fluid (I’m guessing that’s what it is).
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(2 days post bite. The black crud on my right hand is dried snakebite medicine, JiDeSheng SheYao Pian, not blood)

I had a new doctor today. I think this is the day doctor, whereas yesterday evening that doctor was the night shift doctor. The doctor from yesterday (the one that had recommended antivenom) had a better grasp of English than this one. This one still knows English, but he would often switch between the two languages in mid-sentence. I liked the other one more.

Not much going on today. Today was the first (and only) day where the entire day was spent at a hospital. The day of the bite, we showed up in the evening. The next day I was transferred to Yichang and got there around 2-3pm. And tomorrow we’d be checking out and heading to Chengdu.

YangNiu and my doctor wanted me to stay for another 10 days. I told them that it wasn’t necessary and that as long as I drank plenty of fluids and took some antibiotics, that over time everything should be great. The doctor wanted me to sign another waiver….

31 May 12:
Blood was drawn first thing in the morning. All values were normal. The staff wanted a photograph of me and Iwo. I was the first foreigner in their department. My original doctor from the evening of the 29th came in with his wife to look at my arm. He was pleased with the progress. He said some stuff to his wife and then walked out. Her English was great. She said he said I did so well because I was “so strong” and that if it was him or a typical patient that the bite would have been much worse. When my nurse, YangNiu walked in, I asked her how many bites they see per year. She said they see many, especially in the spring and fall. I asked about deaths. She has only seen one. The bite was from a Many-banded krait. Most of the bites are from Sharp-nosed vipers (Deinagkistrodon acutus), I think I was the first Protobothrops bite to show up.

In the morning I got one last round of meds “for the road” and then checked out around noon. Total expenses from the 2 days (half day on 29th, full day on 30th, half day on 31st) came out to $230.

Our train was leaving around 1:30pm or so. We had the hard sleeper this time, bottom bunks. We made it to the train station with plenty of time. The arrival time in Chengdu was 5am.

Just to finish this train of thought (the snake bite) – here are the remaining days from the perspective of the snake bite:

Hand at this time (3 days post bite):
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Day 7: I can grip chopsticks with my right hand and can write though I mostly have to use my middle finger as a stabilizer instead of my index finger.
Day 8: I can write with my hand like normal. I can basically do everything I could do before except when I make a “white knuckle tight” fist there is some tightness/ pain on my 2nd knuckle (knuckle of the index finger). It basically feels like a tight muscle or tendon that hasn’t been stretched in a long time – that sort of pain.

(4, 6, and 8 days post bite)
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Day 14: there is the smallest little edema (or lump). The healing progress was significant from day to day up until about 90% (which coincided roughly with day 6), then it slowed to almost a standstill, such that this little lump has been the only “evidence” of the bite and has been decreasing ever so slowly.

Overall notes: The bite was not serious (not life threatening or tissue damaging). It did cause nearly immediate weakness/ dizziness (<15 mins) that gave the appearance of being serious. This effect lasted for about 30 mins, after which I was lucid and felt fine. Anti-swelling medication, in addition to lots of fluids and antibiotics seem like the only necessary treatment. I feel like due to the location and the nearly immediate sensations felt body wide (arms, legs, feet, neck, and head) that the left fang hit the superficial branch of the radial artery which is just proximal to my 2nd knuckle (which is also where one of the fangs entered). Overall, I don’t recommend treating this species carelessly (obviously, as no venomous should be treated “carelessly”), but I would consider a copperhead a much worse species to get bit by (based on what I’ve seen from other people getting tagged by copperheads).

I am thinking about getting a tattoo at the bite site so every time I sign my name I will have a reminder of the bite (making me think twice before rushing a capture).

For those unfamiliar with the species, here are a few shots (not of the exact individual that bit me, just shots of the species taken in previous years):
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Next post, #41, “conference in Chengdu, return to Shennongjia, and then Nanjing”: http://www.fieldherpforum.com/forum/vie ... 87#p157787

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Jeroen Speybroeck
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Re: China post #41, China 2012

Post by Jeroen Speybroeck » August 28th, 2012, 3:51 am

Great to see the top series continuing, yet too bad about the bite...

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Re: China post #41, China 2012

Post by Jimi » August 28th, 2012, 3:06 pm

Very interesting, thanks for the blow-by-blow. I'm curious - and surprised - to hear the local Deinagkistrodon accidents are not more serious; I think on Taiwan they can be. But I'm not surprised the Protobothrops are not a medically-important species, despite being not-so-uncommon in some areas.

The species that "got you" was imported into the US in modest numbers a couple years ago. I hope this account doesn't induce owners of the survivors and progeny to become complacent with their charges. From what I've heard they are very mellow captives...which along with "they're not so hot" as you seem to have experienced, can be another contributing factor in keeper complacency. I understand that individuals' reactions to snakebite can vary pretty widely.

Congratulations on what seems to be a near-complete recovery (hopefully you have suffered no undiscovered organ damage etc). I'm sure you'll be more careful in the future! As hopefully will those reading your saga. Speaking of which - I'm ready for more!

Cheers,
Jimi

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Re: China post #41, China 2012

Post by [email protected] » August 28th, 2012, 5:14 pm

Awesome play by play Kevin. Beautiful species, and I am glad you recovered from the bite!

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Re: China post #41, China 2012

Post by WW** » August 28th, 2012, 10:50 pm

Thanks for sharing a very interesting account as well as the usual fascinating cultural insights that have made your posts real highlights on this forum.

A couple of specific comments:
Kevin Messenger wrote:I told my doctor that antivenom was only effective in the first three hours or so of the bite and that by now there was no more venom in my system, so the antivenom would basically be useless.
That is not really true. Immunological (ELISA) tests have shown that venom persists in the system for many days if no antivenom is given, and can continue to cause further worsening of symptoms. It appears that venom is absorbed by the lymphatics and then slowly released into the body. This explains, for instance, why you often get recurrence of symptoms after treatment of rattlesnake bites with CroFab: the CroFab is eliminated from the body faster than the venom, and after the CroFab is gone, remaining venom can cause a recurrence of symptoms such as bleeding or coagulopathy. In practical terms, that means that antivenom can be useful many hours or even days after a bite if some symptoms, especially bleeding or coagulopathy, persist. Obviously, in order to prevent necrosis, a/v has to be given early, since it clearly cannot reverse established damage or tissue death.

In your case, your bite was clearly not all that serious, and in the absence of clinically relevant systemic effects like hemprrhage or coagulopathy or severe progressing swelling, there was no need for the stuff. However, time was not the relevant factor in deciding that.

Sorry to bang on about this, but it is worth stressing this point, as refusal of antivenom on the basis that it is too late could potentially have tragic effects.


Overall notes: The bite was not serious (not life threatening or tissue damaging). It did cause nearly immediate weakness/ dizziness (<15 mins) that gave the appearance of being serious. This effect lasted for about 30 mins, after which I was lucid and felt fine. Anti-swelling medication, in addition to lots of fluids and antibiotics seem like the only necessary treatment. I feel like due to the location and the nearly immediate sensations felt body wide (arms, legs, feet, neck, and head) that the left fang hit the superficial branch of the radial artery which is just proximal to my 2nd knuckle (which is also where one of the fangs entered). Overall, I don’t recommend treating this species carelessly (obviously, as no venomous should be treated “carelessly”), but I would consider a copperhead a much worse species to get bit by (based on what I’ve seen from other people getting tagged by copperheads).
Don't judge a species from a single bite! For just about any species of snake, a larger series of bites will reveal a wide spectrum of severities. Differences between more and less dangerous species are really fairly quantitative, with more dangerous species causing a higher proportion of severe bites. However, virtually all front-fanged species will be capable of causing very severe or fatal bites, albeit rarely, and virtually all will also give out some trivial or dry bites. Some people have died from copperhead and Vipera berus bites, others have had insignificant bites from cobras or mambas. From that one bite, you have no way of knowing whether P. jerdonii is a fairly innocuous species that is extremely unlikely to cause a life- or limb-threatening bite, or whether you happen to be a very lucky guy who happened to get one of relatively few mild bites from a highly dangerous species. Never underestimate a species based on a few known bites!

Great post as always though - sorry to bang on about these points.

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Re: China post #41, China 2012

Post by Martti Niskanen » August 28th, 2012, 11:07 pm

Great post again, and thank you for the bite report.

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Re: China post #41, China 2012

Post by Kevin Messenger » August 28th, 2012, 11:45 pm

WW** wrote:Thanks for sharing a very interesting account as well as the usual fascinating cultural insights that have made your posts real highlights on this forum.

That is not really true. Immunological (ELISA) tests have shown that venom persists in the system for many days if no antivenom is given, and can continue to cause further worsening of symptoms. It appears that venom is absorbed by the lymphatics and then slowly released into the body. This explains, for instance, why you often get recurrence of symptoms after treatment of rattlesnake bites with CroFab: the CroFab is eliminated from the body faster than the venom, and after the CroFab is gone, remaining venom can cause a recurrence of symptoms such as bleeding or coagulopathy. In practical terms, that means that antivenom can be useful many hours or even days after a bite if some symptoms, especially bleeding or coagulopathy, persist. Obviously, in order to prevent necrosis, a/v has to be given early, since it clearly cannot reverse established damage or tissue death.

In your case, your bite was clearly not all that serious, and in the absence of clinically relevant systemic effects like hemprrhage or coagulopathy or severe progressing swelling, there was no need for the stuff. However, time was not the relevant factor in deciding that.

Sorry to bang on about this, but it is worth stressing this point, as refusal of antivenom on the basis that it is too late could potentially have tragic effects.

Don't judge a species from a single bite! For just about any species of snake, a larger series of bites will reveal a wide spectrum of severities. Differences between more and less dangerous species are really fairly quantitative, with more dangerous species causing a higher proportion of severe bites. However, virtually all front-fanged species will be capable of causing very severe or fatal bites, albeit rarely, and virtually all will also give out some trivial or dry bites. Some people have died from copperhead and Vipera berus bites, others have had insignificant bites from cobras or mambas. From that one bite, you have no way of knowing whether P. jerdonii is a fairly innocuous species that is extremely unlikely to cause a life- or limb-threatening bite, or whether you happen to be a very lucky guy who happened to get one of relatively few mild bites from a highly dangerous species. Never underestimate a species based on a few known bites!

Great post as always though - sorry to bang on about these points.
No no, I'm glad you banged on these points, otherwise I wouldn't have learned what I learned from your first paragraph. Great to know this. Do you know if there is a generalized difference in persistence of the venom in the body whether it is primarily hemotoxic or neurotoxic?

And as for the 2nd paragraph, yes, I'm definitely not judging this species as not serious, I was just saying the bite I experienced was not serious (trying to calm family members back home who jump to the conclusion that I was in life threatening danger from start to finish). I completely agree that a species can give a range of bites, and then of course you have the human factor to consider. But, I could not find much about this species. History of bites that is. So here is an anecdotal observation for the "non-serious" side.

Thanks for bringing up the points!

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Re: China post #40, China 2012

Post by WW** » August 29th, 2012, 2:53 am

From memory, I don't remember seeing studies of venom persistence in any series of neurotoxic bites (though I could be wrong) - the ones I remember are various viperids, both pitvipers and Old World vipers.

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Re: China post #40, China 2012

Post by Hans Breuer (twoton) » August 29th, 2012, 5:10 am

Holy jerdonii!! Good to hear your bite story went OK in the end..... well, at least you got tagged by one of the most beautiful snakes on the world!

And 10 Achalinus spinalis in ONE HOUR? You want to make us all look bad?? :-)

Hans, who, by the way, finds century eggs quite awesome.

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Mike Pingleton
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Re: China post #40, China 2012

Post by Mike Pingleton » September 12th, 2012, 5:45 pm

I'm sure glad the bite wasn't more serious. Certainly the cheapest treatment I've ever heard of!

If I understand it correctly, the snake 'doubled back' as it went into the rocks? I've heard numerous reports of pit vipers doing that, and have seen it a few times myself.

-Mike

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