Questions on Snake



Snake Bite

Is there a snake known as Two Step Snake ?

There are many snakes that are known as the Two Step snake, other common names are the 50 pacer,100 pacer etc. These names all derived in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam Conflict. Probably what happened is the military released information to all the young men fighting the Conflict that there was a snake in that area that if a person was bitten by it they would walk two steps and then collapse and die. The reason behind all that was just to get all the fighting men to leave ALL the snakes in the region alone. It so happens that most of the snakes refered to as Two Steppers were different species of Tree vipers that rarely if ever cause a human fatality. They just happened to be the snakes that were seen most frequently. There are also other TRUE vipers in the area that were referred to as the Two Steppers. There is no known snake that can kill a person in that short of time. The way snake venoms in general work is there is many different proteins and enzymes that work both individually and together to cause certain effects on a living creature. All of this takes at least some time, to cause a fatal effect.

The fastest snakebite fatality that I have ever reliably heard of is from the Black Mamba from central and southern Africa which took 2.5 minutes, and obviously this was a direct hit to an artery or major vein and the venom went straight to the heart, lungs and nervous system. There are so many variables to snakebite that will effect the outcome of a bite. But very loosely and generically speaking most snakebites even from the most toxic snakes in the world will take 15 to 30 minutes before any life threatening symptoms will appear, and then even many hours or days later if treatment isn't received will death result.

Terry P.
Assistant Curator of Reptiles

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