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Old 12-31-2007, 04:29 PM   #1
False Water Cobra Bite

Well, after almost 20 years keeping and breeding False Water Cobras I finally got what I consider a good bite by one; a female naturally.

It was cleaning day and she was hungry as feeding day had come and gone. Mice have been a pain in the butt to get these past few months and I was out of rat pups so I really can't blame her. As an aside, I was also using non-latex gloves for the first time ever with her.

Normally I don't spend a lot of time handling my FWCs other than for feeding and cleaning and I almost always wear gloves when doing either of those since I don't like getting crap on my hands.

I don't know if the latex gloves I usually use are more easily recognizable or not, perhaps it was just coincidence but I have handled a lot of hungry FWCs while wearing latex gloves and never had a bite before.

I took this yearling female out, she's about 30-36 inches long, and knew she was looking for food. She smelled my hand with her tongue, as she and many others have previously, I thought nothing of it as I have many times previously, and went to put her in my holding container while I cleaned her cage, also as I have done many times previously.

She had other ideas. I could see the thought process as it happened; it's warm, it's weird, I'm not sure what it is, it's still warm, I'm hungry and the oaf hasn't fed me, it's warm, I'm hungry, it's new ...... IT MUST BE FOOD CHOMP!

She got me between the second and third knuckles of the ring finger on my right hand counting from my hand towards the end of my finger. The first "strike" was more a grab to hold on and my finger was not deep enough into her mouth to reach her fangs. She fixed that little problem by walking my finger deeper into her mouth.

I had grabbed her behind the head with my left hand, not to tight as I wasn't worried and didn't want to upset her unduly and I swear she looked up at me and smiled.

I have had decent luck just blowing into the mouth of a snake that thinks I'm food, it happens fairly often with the baby calkings I work with, but not with her. She did pause and think about the flavour of my breath, then decided fresh meat was better and chomped down even harder. FWCs have VERY powerful jaws.

Normally I keep a bottle of rubbing alcohol right at my workstation/sink for just such instances as this. Guess what was missing? Guess who's teenage daughter now knows to let me know when SHE runs out of HER rubbing alcohol.

During my search for the alcohol I KNEW I had in my snake room, admittedly less than a minute, I continued to hold the snakes head with my left hand and she continued to apply signifigant pressure.

She finally worked my finger deep enough to get one fang in and then she bit down even harder, but just with the one side, her control was excellent. Once she had that fang embedded she worked her other side, the fang nearest the end of my finger, onto my finger itself, though it was not as solidly centered as the other one was.

She manuevered her mouth again, resetting again in a new spot the first fang to get a good hold and then bit down again. This was basically the third implantation of the one fang and the second good chomp with it.

It hurt pretty good, but being the manly man that I am, I managed not to cry.

All this occured in probably less than 90 seconds and part of it was while I was walking from the snake room into the house proper calling my female offspring and asking if she had "borrowed" anything out of the snake room without asking me if she could.

Intelligence breeds true and she knew immediately that I needed the alcohol, fetched the bottle, THEN asked if I had been bitten and then if there was something she should to. It was rather comical then, it still is now.

I told her to pour some into the snakes mouth, which she did with hardly any hesitation, the snake let go, I fainted (not really but if flows nicely) I washed off the blood and finished cleaning that snakes cage as well as quite a few others.

There was some immediate burning in the bite area and it felt hot. There was a little bit of swelling, especially since it was right next to a knuckle which always seem to swell when a bite occurs near one. It was painful but not extremely so. I never bothered to take any advil or anything else. I did not apply ice or anything else to it. I did go and do a strenuous workout at the gym that afternoon and suffered no ill effects. In point of fact, I finished quicker than I usually do.

The bitten finger swelled up quite a bit but never to the point where I could not bend it at least a little. The back of my hand swelled over the next 2 days, getting quite puffy and somewhat sensitive. The swelling never went past my wrist, there was no discolouration, no flesh deterioration, nothing signifigant other than the swelling on the back of my hand.

The finger was pretty much back to normal size in about 4 days. It is still somewhat tight in the second knuckle though I do have full range of motion with it. The swelling on the back of my hand was gone by the end of the third day.

Basically, it was a nucience but not signifigant. Since I did a lot of physical activities immediately after the bite I am sure that whatever venom I recieved was well circulated and, for me, rather insignifigant.

For those who keep or are thinking of keeping FWCs, this is the only first hand information I have about how bad a bite from one can be. I've heard all kinds of stories from a lot of people, most of which I put little stock in, some of which seemed reasonable, but none of which were verifiable.

If you keep this species, be careful, there is some venom there but I really don't think it's as dangerous as some make it out to be.
Old 12-31-2007, 05:16 PM   #2
The BoidSmith

I'm glad you are OK...but did you take her to the vet?

Just a joke, Happy New Year!

Old 12-31-2007, 05:17 PM   #3
Originally Posted by The BoidSmith

I'm glad you are OK...but did you take her to the vet?

Just a joke, Happy New Year!


Now that was a good one.

Now that she's had a taste of me I suppose I should have her checked.
Old 12-31-2007, 06:35 PM   #4
Dr Owens
Originally Posted by Wilomn
It hurt pretty good, but being the manly man that I am, I managed not to cry.
LOL! I'm glad your manliness survived the encounter.

btw...have you ever tried hot water as a means to get an animal off of you? Not so hot as to burn them, but hot enough that it makes them want to let go. It works really well. Another trick is to use drinking alcohol (vodka works great) in a spray bottle. It works just as well as rubbing alcohol, but it's not nearly as toxic in the event they ingest any, and the spray bottle allows you to "shoot it" into their mouth (which is helpful with bigger animals)...and hopefully your daughter won't steal it.
Old 12-31-2007, 08:43 PM   #5
Glad you are ok my friend.

And I see we both know exactly where to find things that are not where they are supposed to be.
Old 12-31-2007, 11:01 PM   #6
Golden Gate Geckos
Wes, Wes, Wes... too bad it wasn't your middle finger! You could flip, errr, show it to her every time you feed her from now on.

(Glad your OK!)
Old 01-01-2008, 12:17 AM   #7
Sorry to hear about your attack Wes, maybe next time she will be nicer, she now knows you taste bad.

I like the comment about the middle finger, Wes would be lost without the use of that one.

All jokes aside, I am glad to hear you are ok bro.
Old 01-01-2008, 12:53 AM   #8
That has to suck. Sorry to hear your snake bit ya . Im sure the snake is tramatized by the whole experience. J/J.... Pictures would have been helpful but your play by play worked. Happy New Year
Old 01-01-2008, 02:49 AM   #9
Oh man, sorry about that Wes. Glad you're OK. And good for you for not biting back.
Old 01-01-2008, 12:10 PM   #10
Originally Posted by The Gecko Prince
Oh man, sorry about that Wes. Glad you're OK. And good for you for not biting back.
An amazingly astute woman. After sharing a table with her for only 2 days at the San Jose show she knows me well enough to make that statement.

I would have taken pictures but it happened Xmas eve and I was on my way out of town, forgot my camera, and just plain got busy with family. There was never really anything over picture worthy anyway, no weeping wound, just a bit of swelling and some discolouration on my finger which I think was due mostly to blood under the skin and the swelling on the back of my hand.

Thanks for your concern guys.

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