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Needless killing of a harmless snake

Posted in Saving Snakes on Saturday, 06 October 2012.

Speckled Sand Snake is butchered in TV news clip

Needless killing of a harmless snake

A recent news clip aired on local Kenyan TV and uploaded to You Tube (shown below) shows a harmless Speckled Sand Snake being killed.

I can’t believe that in 2012 this is the situation on the ground in Kenya. A harmless snake (the Speckled Sand Snake Psammophis punctulatus) was butchered unnecessarily on TV. It wasn’t even in a house or compound…it was sitting up high in a tree and it was brought down and killed.

More importantly people are still under the impression that the black stone is the best treatment for snakebite. It is not. The only cure for venomous snakebite is the correct anti-venom for the correct snake given within the correct time. A black stone on a non-venomous snake gives a false result as the patient will recover every time…obviously. Good for snakestone sellers but very dangerous for envenomed patients.

The Speckled Sand Snake is one of Kenya’s most beautiful and harmless snakes. It is fast and elegant and keeps itself to itself, never biting unless grabbed and no danger to anybody. It is suggested that people visit the Nairobi Snake Park or their closest reputable snake park to familiarize themselves with the relevant snakes in their area.

Both private and Government doctors should have better knowledge on the treatment of snakebite in order to help the people and preserve the wildlife…the same as knowledge of larger game such as elephants and buffalo. Leave them alone, keep your distance and if you are unlucky enough to get bitten by a poisonous snake seek proper professional help.

There are only a handful of snakes in any one area that are dangerous, knowing these snakes will eliminate the many more harmless snakes, and allow a positive identification should you come across a snake.

Snakes are a vital part of the ecosystem, keeping rodent numbers down in homesteads and shambas, helping to give a better crop and reduce the spread of disease. 

simple-steps-englishFor more information on how to assist a person who has been bitten by a snake, please read Simple Steps To Assist A Snakebite Patient (also available to download in Swahili), feel free to download, print and distribute this leaflet.

We welcome everyone to our bi-annual Snakebite Seminar, where world experts come to Kenya to lecture and discuss how to deal with snakebite, and a range of useful topics related to snakes and other reptiles.

Please follow our Saving Snakes campaign on our blog for news, updates and more information on how to assist the ongoing effort to conserve snakes. 

Royjan Taylor, Director of Bio-Ken

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