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RE: Envenomation

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Posted by: Rextiles at Sat Aug 10 21:22:07 2013  [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by Rextiles ]  

My main point is that posting topics like this do far more harm than good. One may interpret that bite as a very harmful envenomation and want to ban hognose.

I couldn't disagree more. Postings such as mine do more good than harm, maybe not for the industry, but certaintly in educating the public who in my mind is far more important anyways. I can't think of anything worse than not informing someone of the potential risks of buying a hognose snake and then having them get bitten and having a severe reaction, something that might cause them to miss work or having to go to the hospital. To ignore the facts and pass off misinformation such as you have done is in fact far more damaging than anything I have shown with my factual bite post. For one, it shows that you do not know the facts. Two, it shows that you might be willing to disavow any such factual findings in fear that it's merely going to hurt the your ability to keep and sell such animals, therefore you might have a vested interest in lying to the public or at least obfuscating the facts. If a government agency is going to want to ban something, then they are going to do it based on their own research, not because of posts such as mine.

What I stated was factual, Western hognose are in fact rear-fanged (meaning, they actually possess fangs) and venomous. These facts are clearly documented and can be found with even just a little research on the internet. Here's some information that I looked up in less than 5 minutes...

US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health - "The present study characterized venom (Duvernoy's gland secretion) collected from twelve species of opisthoglyphous (rear-fanged) colubrid snakes, an extremely diverse assemblage of non-venomous to highly venomous snakes. Most venoms displayed proteolytic activity (casein), though activity levels varied considerably. Low phosphodiesterase activity was detected in several venoms (Amphiesma stolata, Diadophis punctatus, Heterodon nasicus kennerlyi, H. n. nasicus and Thamnophis elegans vagrans), and acetylcholinesterase was found in Boiga irregularis saliva and venom, but no venoms displayed hyaluronidase, thrombin-like or kallikrein-like activities."

In case you might have missed this one very important fact from the above quote, Western Hognose are part of the Opisthoglyphous family, colubrids that are rear-fanged. Here's some more literature on the Opisthoglyphous family. Did you also notice that the above quote came from a US government site?

"Opisthoglyphous snakes (rearward grooves) possess venom injected by a pair of enlarged teeth at the back of the maxillae which normally angle backwards and are grooved to channel venom into the puncture. Since these fangs and are not located at the front of the mouth this arrangement is vernacularly called rear-fanged. In order to envenomate prey, an opisthoglyphous snake must move the prey into the rear of its mouth and then penetrate it with its fangs, presenting difficulties with large prey although they can quickly move smaller prey (or a human handler's finger) into position. The opisthoglyphous dentition appears at least two times in the history of snakes.[1] While the venom of most opisthoglyphous snakes is too weak to harm humans, sometimes this is not the case. Notably, herpetologists Karl Schmidt and Robert Mertens were killed by a boomslang and twig snake, respectively, after each underestimated the effects of the bite and failed to seek medical help. Opisthoglyphous snakes are found in family Colubridae."

Here's a couple more pictures that clearly show the fangs of Hognose snakes...

Are hognose envenomations going to kill anybody? Well, it hasn't happened yet, so I don't think we really have to worry about it. But then again, that's not the point at all, is it? To me, the point is educating people so that they can make informed decisions on the type of pet they are wanting to invest in. If they choose to pass on owning a hognose snake simply because of them being rear-fanged and mildly venomous, then that's their decision as it should be, their decision based on knowing the facts! Nobody wants to buy a snake, then get bit, have a severe reaction like what I had and not be able to go to work that involves complete and unhindered mobility of their hands. If anything, my informing them of the potentials of such a bite actually might prevent a bite from happening because it will hopefully cause the keeper to be a lot more cautious when handling and not be so lackadaisical when handling (like I was when I got bit this last time).

Trust me when I say this, I don't take the situation lightly, especially considering I have 7 years of my life and over $50k invested in my hognose collection alone, so legislation banning me from keeping or selling them would be a huge step backwards for me. But here's the thing, it's far more responsible and selfless of me to at least show and educate people about the inherent risks than not to simply because of my own self interests. To me, disregarding factual information and not passing it along to the public, potentially putting them in harm, is just wrong no matter how you look at it.

Anywho, now you know the actual facts, and there's a lot more information out there at your fingertips if you truly are interested in looking it up. Every one should know the facts and share them with others so that they can make informed decisions on whether or not this is the right species of snake for them to keep, it's just the responsible thing to do.
Troy Rexroth


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