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Snakebite Help-Guide

We picked up this very valuable Informative Text roaming throughout Namibia and we think it is of great value to share this with our fellow readers, locals and international visitors. This Blog-Post is currently the only copy of information partially compiled with roaming Information from another Website-Copywriter (we still trying to find out by whom). The importance of the topic matter nevertheless is second to none. So, if you are travelling into heavy rural areas, please pay some proper attention to the Information listed and explained below. The individual who compiled this Text we would love to thank you in advance and please get in contact with us. We couldn’t have written it better ourselves, therefore “hats-off” . This one is indeed extremely important for everyone, no matter locals, tour guides or international visitors alike, to be informed about. So without further due, please read the following and take Notes if you can.  IMPORTANT: If you do come in an unfortunate situation of a Snakebite and need to make a call from an international Cellphone, please use the prefix “+264” excluding the “0” eg. “+264 (0)81 123 4567″. Also, this guide is laid out for Namibia ONLY!!! A future Blog Post with emergency Numbers on bordering countries to Namibia available soon.

” With summer slowly approaching, snakes will once again come into conflict with people across Namibia. This list will provide our members with relevant information regarding basic snake safety and first aid, as well as contact details of snake catchers across the country.”

• Windhoek
Francois Theart 081 2900343 (All hours)
Jaques Arangies 081 2809839 (After hours and weekends)
Brendon Barnard 081 2194873 (after hours)
Felix Vallat 081 45 35 855 (All hours when in Windhoek, preferably Avis/Klein Windhoek/Ludwigsdorf/Eros)
Marco Peters 081 6577695 ( after hours and when in town)
Leevi Nanyeni 081 2482602 (after hours and weekends, Sundays only after 1 pm)
Frikkie Du Toit 081 8595051 (Available lunch hour and any time after five)

• Okahandja
Johan Pretorius 081 1272832 (all hours, except when consulting. Phone to find out)

• Otjiwarongo
Bennie Hollander 081 6284527 (All hours)

Ministry of Environment and Tourism 067 302639 /Victorus Shitulenus 081 2720384/ Calvin 081 2308524/ Kolbooi 081 2538303

• Grootfontein 
De Wet Horn 081 0343057 (daylight hours – find out where he is – Tsumeb or Grootfontein)

• Tsumeb 
De Wet Horn 081 0343057 (daylight hours – find out where he is – Tsumeb or Grootfontein)

• Otavi
Alex Singleton 081 3940174 (when in Otavi and available. Phone to find out)

• Usakos/Karibib
Antoinette Heath 081 2262715 (All hours, day and night)

• Rosh Pinah 
Wesley Price 081 1283307 (All Hours)

• Katima Mulilo
Curt_Ingo Sagell 081 1292811(All Hours)
Rachelle Lambrechts 081 5619040 (all hours)

• Coastal – Swakopmund, Walvis Bay and Henties Bay
Simon McGowan 081 2339242 (all hours)
Fanie Lucas 081 383 3417 (Swakopmund – After Hours)

• Rehoboth/Hardap region
Mario Guterres Emergency no 081 6888846/085 2888846/Radio 081 7455090 (All hours)

• Snake catching tour guides – phone to find out if perhaps they are in your area if not listed above
Stephan Sachse 081 2767552 (hometown Grootfontein)
Marc Davis 081 1241929 (hometown Otjiwarongo/Windhoek)

In the case of a snake bite, please email snakebite to snakebitedoc@gmail.com, Dr Buys will respond immediately.

When a snake is spotted, please keep your eyes on the snake and make sure you have these numbers close by to phone for assistance. And please bear in mind that most of these are working people, so please do not phone everyone on the list when someone is already on the way. When someone gets there they will use their own discretion to decide whether or not they need backup. Please also note, trying to kill the snake could result in a bite as it naturally will try to defend itself.

     + Steps To Live Safely Alongside Snakes:

Firstly there are NO effective snake repellents!!!

1. Keep grass short and clear underneath bushes to prevent hiding place for snakes.

2.Clear heaps of rubbish, building materials and other refuse from near the house

3. Avoid creeping plants, thick hedges and shrubs especially against house walls and open windows

4. Store food in rat-proof containers and keep livestock away from the house, as many snakes will come to hunt them.

5. Avoid compost heaps, rockeries and aviaries as they may provide snakes with suitable hiding spots and a source of food.

6. Close off all potential spots where snakes might fit through. This can be done by using shade clothing or chicken mesh.

     + What to do in case you encounter a Snake:

Image above: Barry-Goldsmith international Snake Catcher – photo from MPNEWS

1. DO NOT try to catch or kill snakes – If you are close enough to kill, you are close enough to get bitten.

2. Keep a calm and back away slowly snakes will flee immediately.

3. Contact Your nearest snake catcher to deal with the situation.

     + Prevention of Snakebite:

Image above: Proper footwear is highly important – Photo by Roam Outdoor

1. Wear closed shoes preferably ones that cover the ankle. Sunglasses should also be considered as they provide protection against spitting cobras.

2. Use a torch when you are outside at night.

3. Watch where your feet are treading. Step onto rocks and logs rather than over them.

4. Do not collect firewood at dusk or night as most snakes move during this time.

5. Be careful when handling dead or apparently dead snakes as some species like the Anchieta’s cobra may sham death as a defensive tactic

6. Do not handle any snake no matter how harmless they may seem.

7. Raise beds above floor level and use a mosquito net to prevent snakes entering your bed.

     + First Aid For Snakebite – Do’s and Don’ts

Image above: First procedure for a Snakebite – photo by Wildlife

1. DO stay calm. If you are assisting the victim to keep bystanders calm and reassure the patient who may be worried.

2. Rinse venom in the eyes with water immediately, and wash the face and any other areas that have been exposed to venom

3. Move the patient to safety. If possible try to identify the snake, this is however not vital as experienced snakebite doctors will be able to treat you according to your symptoms.

4. Reduce movement of the affected area as much as possible.

5. Remove tight clothing and jewellery around the bite site.

6. If a confirmed mamba, cape cobra or Anchieta’s cobra bite a pressure bandage may be used.

7. Elevate the limb slightly

8. Resuscitate (artificial or mouth-to-mouth respiration) if the patient stops breathing.

Remember NOT to waste any time with first aid when you are less than an hours drive from an equipped healthcare facility.

     + Do NOT!!!

Image above: Traditional Medicine by Wikipedia

1. Don’t wash, touch, cut or suck venom from the bite site.

2. Do Not use tourniquets

3. Do not lay the patient on their back at any time, to keep the airway free. Always lay them on their left side.

4. Do not stop monitoring the patient’s condition, especially breathing and airway, until you reach a healthcare facility.

5. Don’t rub the eyes or give any medication

6. Don’t use traditional methods, herbal medicines and unsafe forms of first aid

(Above Post by an outside Namibian Author/Organisation, Text Only – excluding Blog Post Intro, outro, images, maps, links and video)

     + The Living Desert Snake Park (Swakopmund)

The Living Desert Snake Park has the largest collection of reptiles on view in Namibia.

The Snake Park houses a variety of indigenous snakes, venomous and otherwise, giving the visitor an opportunity to see local species. These include the small and harmless ones that appear and disappear like ribbons of water or flashes of light; the most venomous, including the Boomslang (tree-snake), Black mamba and Cape cobra; and the more sluggish puff adder and fearsome-looking zebra snake.

Housed in the old Otavi Bahnhof on Sam Nujoma Avenue, the Snake Park is ‘small but it’s big’, as Sarah describes it. Information sheets about every species are pasted onto the glass and notices give valuable information about reptiles in general, adding a bit of humour here and there. As one sign informs visitors: Attention! We have only three puff adders, please don’t stand on one.” (by Travel News Namibia)

     + Literature

• Snakes of southern Africa

This a much-favoured book touching base on almost all species found within southern Africa, touching base on Habitat and characteristics of all different Snakes found on this part of the continent. Available at most Book-Shops and online at Amazon or for locals at TakeAlot.com.

This detailed and comprehensive guide to the 151 snakes indigenous to southern Africa covers all essential aspects of snake biology and behaviour. Now in its second edition, A Complete Guide to Snakes of Southern Africa has been updated, revised and expanded to include at least 11 newly discovered and 30 re-classified species and sub-species. New information based on international scientific research has been included in the species accounts relating to behaviour, identification, reproduction and snake venoms. Species descriptions are now accompanied by full-colour photographs. Simple icons make essential information available at a glance. A separate ‘look out for’ box assists in quickly identifying species in the field. Chapters on classification and identification, keeping snakes, and the prevention and treatment of snakebite supplement the species accounts. This readable and user-friendly guide will be invaluable to herpetologists, snake collectors, hikers, gardeners, campers and householders, or anyone who may encounter or want to know more about these fascinating and widely misunderstood reptiles.” (taken from Book Introduction)

Author: Johan Marais
Category: Reptiles / Snakes
ISBN: 9781868729326
Date Released: 1 July 2005 (2nd edition)
Price (incl. VAT): N$ 422.75 for Paperback, N$ 859.99 for Hardcover and N$ 158.50 for Kindle (prices may vary accordingly)
Format: 312 pages, Kindle, Hardcover or Paperback

     + A very informative 11:46 min Clip on Snakebite emergency treatments below.

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