The variety of individuals getting bitten by unique snakes within the UK is on the rise, and specialists say it is as a result of an growing variety of non-native snakes are being stored captive in properties as pets.


A brand new examine logs 321 unique snake bites on 300 totally different people between 2009 and 2020, involving 68 totally different species – about 30 a 12 months on common. Examine that with 133 between 2004 and 2010, a mean of 22.

The information was collected by means of information of snake chunk enquiries to the Nationwide Poisons Data Service (NPIS) within the UK. Enquiries about bites from the European adder – the one toxic snake native to the UK – or instances the place the id of the snake was unknown weren’t included within the figures used for this examine.

“Most of those bites happen to fingers, arms and wrists following deliberate dealing with interplay by individuals who preserve snakes as a part of their occupation or passion,” says David Warrell, a professor of tropical drugs on the College of Oxford within the UK.

“Whereas possession of many toxic species requires a particular licence within the UK, it’s acknowledged that some people might preserve these snakes illegally – which means the true numbers of unique snake chunk accidents could also be underestimated.”

The 300 individuals affected included 72 kids (aged 17 years or underneath). Of these kids, 13 have been 5 years outdated or youthful, however none had extreme accidents. Many of the bites – 207 or nearly two-thirds – occurred to males.


Out of all of the individuals bitten, 15 had extreme accidents. These 15 embody a single fatality, the tragic case of a reptile conservationist who died after being bitten by a king cobra, and having beforehand survived a chunk from an japanese inexperienced mamba snake.

It is estimated that round 1 in 100 households within the UK now personal a pet snake, and the report is a sign of the risks that come together with holding such an animal captive – even when these bites stay a uncommon prevalence total.

“The prospect of being bitten by an unique, non-native snake within the UK continues to be distant, with bites usually occurring in these holding such snakes as a part of their occupation or passion,” says Pardeep Jagpal, from the NPIS in Birmingham within the UK.

In line with the report, 9 individuals have been bitten twice and one individual had the misfortune to be bitten 3 times. As per the World Well being Group (WHO), there are greater than 250 species of venomous snakes thought of “medically essential” by way of the injury they will do with their bites.

Breaking the bites down by species, 184 got here from the Colubridae household of snakes (together with hognose snakes, king snakes and false water cobras), 30 got here from the Viperidae household (together with the western diamondback rattlesnake and the copperhead), and 14 got here from the Elapidae household (mostly Indian cobras, monocled cobras and king cobras).

The NPIS supplies knowledgeable recommendation and medical care within the UK to those that have suffered a snake chunk, however the researchers say that those that select to maintain these animals as pets should settle for the danger of being bitten as “one of many hazards of possession”.

“Speedy entry to knowledgeable scientific recommendation and the supply of acceptable anti-venom are essential issues when these accidents happen,” says Jagpal.

The analysis has been revealed in Medical Toxicology.


By 24H

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