Following an article published on Wednesday by Gulf News, a reader has come forward to share a picture of a deadly viper he spotted in Dubailand last week.
The reader, Jijin, an Indian expat, said that he was walking his dog on October 2 close to a residential community in Dubailand when he spotted the venomous snake.
"We found the snake below some bushes when I was walking my dog. My dog could sense some danger and started to bark. That is when I noticed the snake curled up under the bushes. I informed the security personnel in my building and soon people from the building gathered to take a look at the snake," said Jijin.
"When I left the spot where I sighted it, the snake was alive. But later when people approached the snake, it looked lifeless. I think with all the construction going around in the area, the snake was harmed. I have heard vibration causes a snake to become irritated."
He added that in the last 30 years he has been living in the UAE, this was his first encounter with a deadly snake.
“I hope my information will help people be aware about snakes in Dubailand as there are many pet-owners who take their dogs for a walk here.”
Gulf News shared the picture with Dr Reza Khan of Dubai Municipality, who confirmed the reptile to be a Sochurek's saw-scaled viper, also known as the eastern saw-scaled viper or a saw-scaled viper, belonging to the family of Echis carinatus sochureki.
The deadliest land snake in UAE
According to Dr Khan, the Sochurek's saw-scaled viper is one of the deadliest land snakes to live in the UAE because it is often found close to human habitat and belongs to a species that are rather ‘short tempered’.
“Typically, these snakes are found close to homes and desert areas like Jebel Ali, the Mushrif Park, Khawaneej, Awir, Lehbab, and Lisaili,” he added.
Good piece of news
According to Dr Khan, there aren’t too many of these vipers living in the UAE as their numbers are so low that they are rarely seen here.
“It hides under trash, piled up rubbish, under garden hedges, rocks, boulders, etc. They are nocturnal and hence you don’t see them during the day,” said Dr Khan.
Talking about instances of snake bites in the UAE, Dr Khan said: “In my 30 years of experience, there have not been more than two or three deaths from snakes in the UAE. Venomous snakes are rare to see and their bites more so.”
Four commonly found snakes
1. Sochurek's saw-scaled viper, eastern saw-scaled viper, saw-scaled viper Echis carinatus sochureki
2. Oman Saw-scaled Viper Echis omanensis Babocsay 2004 or the carpet viper Echis carinatus, now replaced by Echis omanensis
3. Arabian Sand Viper Cerastes gasperettii
4. False Horned Viper Pseudocerastes persicus
What to do when you spot a snake
If you are in Dubai, Dr. Khan said to call Dubai Municipality on its emergency number - 800900. “The operator will pass the line to the vet or pest control section or to Dubai Safari, who will send professionals to have the reptile picked up.”
What happens in the case of a snake bite
A snake’s venom slowly prevents the blood from clotting. A human body reacts to poisonous venom with pain and swelling, which is then followed by systemic bleeding within six to 72 hours. If untreated, a snake bite may cause internal haemorrhaging and eventually organ failure.
What to do in case of a snake bite
• The affected person or an attendant must immediately call for an ambulance.
• The patient must be in immobile condition.
• Remove any watch/jewellery on the targeted area
• Keep the bitten part of the body in a vertical position and do not move it
• Clean the wound with a piece of cotton or tissue, but do not attach it to the wound – bandages should be strapped lightly and blood circulation shouldn’t be restricted
• Take a picture of the snake to present to the doctor, without putting yourself at risk
• Take pain killers
• Put ice on the wound
• Cut the area in an attempt to release the venom, and don’t try to suck out the poison – this will only increase the loss of blood
• Wash the wound with water
How long does a person survive after being bitten by a snake
“Depends upon many factors,” said Dr Khan. “Patients can die from shock itself or if they stay calm – they could survive a six to eight hours after the bite.”
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