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Western Hognose Bite 01-10-2013

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Posted by: Rextiles at Fri Aug 9 22:44:09 2013  [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by Rextiles ]  

January 10 2013 19:11-19:13
Here is a 2012 Amel that thought he could eat my finger. This was purely a feeding response as I was holding him while cleaning his tub prior to feeding him. He was totally calm and gave no indication of biting when I picked him up and was holding him for several minutes. Next thing I know, I feel the sting of his rear fangs as he's latched onto my finger.

January 10 2013 19:14
This is right after he voluntarily let go of my finger. Notice how thin and watery the blood looks? The bite site at this point has a burning sensation much like the feeling of a bee sting.

January 10 2013 19:45
This was taken 30 minutes after the bite. The middle finger is already stiffening up and swollen as is the middle knuckle. The inflamation is starting to spread to surrounding tissue. The bite site continues to have a deep burning sensation.

January 11 2013 01:51
By around 2am, the swelling has spread throughout the top of my hand. Deep burning is still felt around bite site and a mild throbbing pain is felt throughout top of hand.

January 11 2013 14:17
Notice the amount of swelling now on top of my left hand compared to the right? Pain around bite site has subsided some but is now kind of numb. The top of my hand feels very tight accompanied with a dull pain while holding still but starts to burn pain when I move my fingers. The swelling has now gone into my wrist.

January 11 2013 14:18
Obvious redness along with swelling is still observed. The top of my hand is significantly warmer to the touch than my other hand. At this point, I can't make a fist, mobility of my fingers is probably reduced to about 20%.

January 11 2013 16:05

January 12 2013 02:00
The swelling has now gone halfway up into my forearm.

January 12 2013 13:55
The swelling has finally resided in my fingers to the point where I can almost make a fist, probably at 80%. The swelling in my hand has gone down some but it's still puffy enough that you still can't see my knuckles. The pain that I was experiencing from moving my fingers has decreased dramatically which is great as it was really burning every time I moved my fingers.

January 13 2013
The swelling, while decreasing in my fingers and hands, has extended up into my forearm and is working it's way to my elbow. Last night before I went to bed, the swelling was halfway up my forearm, now it's about 90% into my forearm. The swelling in my forearm is not excessive like it was in my hand but the skin is tight and feels warm to the touch. Thankfully it doesn't hurt at all like it did in my hand.

January 14 2013
The swelling is finally starting to reduce itself in my forearm as is the pain in my hand. Mobility in my hand is almost back to normal.

January 15 2013
All is back to normal. The swelling, discoloration and burning pain is all gone. My hand is still a little sore from the experience but I have complete mobility once again.

In my 7 years of keeping hognose, I've been bitten about 6 times where the snakes were actually able to sink their fangs deep into my flesh. Out of those 6 times, I've only had 2 reactions.

My first bite reaction was caused by an adult male that was latched onto one of my fingers for 4-5 minutes, he was extremely difficult to get off of my finger as he was quite insistent on not letting go. I experienced the same type of bee sting kind of burning sensation and swelling but it was all pretty much localized to just that finger and a small part of the knuckle. The pain and swelling completely subsided with 45-60 minutes.

This last experience, however, was significantly worse and very surprising considering it came from a much smaller snake. Either I've now become sensitive to their venom, or this little guy dumped more venom into my system than I received from my previous bite or he bit into a vein or a nerve that caused more of a reaction than the previous bite did, or maybe all of the above.

All in all, while it was an interesting experience, especially coming from such a small hognose and a bite that only lasted a few minutes. It was an experience that I'm sure many would want to miss. As with any snake, always be aware of what they are capable of, always pay close attention to them when you are handling them and always handle them with caution and respect!


Here's a couple of pictures of him taken several months later. He used to be so docile but after my bite incident with him, he's a lot more assertive and will now come after you on feeding day. He's a crazy little guy!

Whoever claims that all (captive kept) Western hognose are docile and non-aggressive obviously haven't been around very many and/or don't know just how individualistic they really can be! I have some that will crap all over themselves if you just look at them wrong while others, like this little guy, have no problem raising their head up to look you straight into the eye and then come after you. Western hognose are truly a fascinating species and one that I really enjoy studying all aspects of.

And let me reiterate what I said above as I feel it is worth repeating...

As with any snake, always be aware of what they are capable of, always pay close attention to them when you are handling them and always handle them with caution and respect!
Troy Rexroth


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