What Does A Non-Venomous Snakebite Look Like?

What Does A Non-Venomous Snakebite Look Like?

Wondering what happens if a non venomous snake bites you? How does a non venomous snake bite feel like? In any case, how can you identify a snake bite? Essentially, what does a non-venomous snakebite look like?

My name is Michael Cook, a herpetologist and a correspondent writer of the snake store research group. As a part of our recent investigations, we have come across one of the most prevalent issues when dealing with a snakebite; identification of the venomous snake bite from the non-venomous categories, hence having the right approach to its treatment. While several public hearsays have obscured the line between facts and myths, we have decided to share a comprehensive guide on recognizing a non venomous snakebite, its prevention and the steps to follow after receiving a bite by such species.

The first factor in identifying a non venomous bite is the mark of two rows of teeth, instead of defined puncture holes. Redness, itch, warmth, swelling and bleeding are among other symptoms around the area of a non venomous species bite.

This article clarifies the following topics in details;

  • Identifying the non venomous nature of the bite by the snake’s physical characteristics
  • A detailed glance on hunting and biting habits of non-venomous snakes
  • Introduction of the most common categories of non-venomous species
  • Examining the snakebite of a non-venomous snake
  • Areas and people prone to snake bits
  • Symptoms, diagnosis, first aid treatment and follow up therapies
  • How to avoid getting bitten

Eager to know more? Learn about identification, treatment and even prevention of snake bites below;

beware of snakes

1- The Battle Against SnakeBite

Scientifically, there are no obvious and clear characteristics that differ venomous snakes from non-venomous ones, which are also referred to as a non-poisonous snake. It is the world’s responsibility to identify which species are the most dangerous and where and when they could be found.

However, what makes a non-venomous snake different from venomous is the presence of teeth. When they bite, the victim has to be extra careful about the wound. The area that is bitten by the snake must be kept dry, and free from moisture. Though, if the bites are from big non-venomous snakes, then chances are high that victims might be subject to severe medical conditions, particularly massive lacerations which require immediate medical assistance.

snake bite arm

2- Physical Characteristics and Snake Identification

  • Head Shape: Most of the non-venomous snakes flatten their heads as soon as they identify a threat, which eventually make it difficult to distinguish from venomous snakes.
  • Pit: There are no facial pits in non-venomous snakes.
  • Scale Arrangement: There are 2 scale rows from the anal plate to their tail, which can also be seen on the skin that has been shed recently.
  • Tail: They can be easily identified by their rattles on the tip.
  • Distinctive Sound: Most of the non-venomous snakes (like rat snakes, pine snakes, black racers, milk snakes and corn snakes) vibrate their tails in case of a threat. The sound so produced imitates a hissing or rattle sound while sitting on dry leaves or grass.
python mouth

3- How Do The Non Venomous Snakes Hunt?

One of the characteristics that non-venomous snakes have is to shrink or tighten their prey. However, it is not intended to break their bones. All it does is to strike its prey out, wrap a few coils and squeeze them. During this process, two things happen simultaneously. As soon as the prey exhales, the snake squeezes it until it doesn’t inhale anymore.

Here, the worth mentioning fact is that these non-venomous snakes are so powerful that their coils cause heart failure in their prey and kill them instantly. They tend to apply so much pressure on the chest cavity that their organs squeeze and the heart does not have enough room to beat. The time required for killing the prey dies is anywhere between a few seconds up to a 1 minute.


Presentation of a snake ring


4- Classification of Non-Venomous Snakes

According to statistics, most of the snake species are clinically non-venomous. These include King Snakes, Bull snakes, Pythons and Boas. They are usually famous for not producing toxins that can affect humans. Though, several species of snakes such as Rat snakes, Hog nose snakes and Garter snakes, can produce venom that is powerful enough to hunt their prey.

non venomous snake bite

5- A Look At Non-Venomous Snake Bites

When it comes to examining the snakebite of a non-venomous snake, it should be remembered that it will look like a normal snakebite puncture, but without the venom. However, this bite is completely different from a dry bite, which is from a venomous snake whose purpose is not to inject any venom into its prey.

Here, what people have to remember is that whether the bite is from a dry snake or a non-venomous one, it’s always necessary to examine and treat it so that the body can be protected from infections or tissue damages.

Non-venomous snakes are mostly categorized as snakes that are capable of biting humans. So, if a person is bitten by any of them, they will recover but there are chances of potential complications that may linger. Some of the possible ones are a retained tooth, a wound infection (particularly tetanus) or puncture wound. It is mentionable that these snakes do not transmit or carry rabies.

On the other hand, when it comes to understanding the snakebites of venomous snakes, they do not usually lead to venom poisoning. Around 20% of snakebites do not inject venom, which are alternatively referred to as dry bites. These bites may also cause complications as that of non-venomous snakebites.

venomous snake bite

6- Who Are Likely to Be the Next Victims; A Glance at Geo-social Impact

According to recent studies, there are 1.8 million snakebites reported almost every year, of which 20,000 to 94,000 victims lose their lives within a short time after receiving the bite. Snakebites are usually common across tropical or agricultural areas where snakes coexist with humans.

In the United States, around 5 people die from snakebites each year. People usually think that they can fight against snakes rather, such attempts provoke snakes to attack them, which eventually increases the chances for humans to get themselves into a life-threatening situation.

snake bite finger

7- Alerting Signs and Symptoms

If the victim is elderly or someone who is suffering from some diseases, he/she might not be able to handle the same amount of venom as a healthy adult. Immediate actions should be taken as soon as the person is affected by a snakebite.

Since non-venomous snakes do not produce toxins, they cannot inject them into their prey, neither have the facility of doing so; Instead of fangs, they have sharp teeth to bite for protection or kill their prey. When a non-venomous snake bites, the victim experiences the following symptoms:

  • Bleeding
  • Itching, redness, swelling and pain near the infected area 
snake belts collection presentation

8- Snakebite Treatment and Diagnosis

If not given timely attention, the snakebite from a non-venomous snake may lead to necrosis, tissue death or skin infection. These snakebites can also turn into allergic reactions. The rule of thumb is to always take precautions and turn to an appropriate medical service provider. The individual that is treating you must be experienced and knowledgeable enough to identify the snakebite correctly. He/she should be given a tetanus booster injection, in case of not having received one within the last five years.

Practically, snakebites are identified by examining the history of the events. Although identification and description of snakebites are different, they tend to be quite useful for treatment as not all snakes are venomous. There are many non-venomous species of snakes that their identification can be of help in treatment.

In case of a medical treatment, a doctor tries to find any evidence of local trauma or fang marks in the affected area. Many snakebites cause swelling and pain; a common factor that blurs the lines between the bite symptoms of the venomous and non venomous species, and making the treatment identification rather difficult.

The doctor begins with examination of shock, breathing problems or traces of life-threatening injuries followed by the wounds that are cleaned initially. After that, the doctor will take urine and blood samples of the patient in order to find the evidence of irregularities such as thrombosis, muscle death or bleeding. The reason for performing these series of tests is that these problems may show results after some time, and must not be overlooked.

non venomous bite

9- Follow-Up Care

After getting released from the hospital, the victim should go back for medical help in case they experience worsening of the symptoms or problems. Normally, victims have to deal with bleeding, increased swelling or pain, trouble with breathing or a change in mental health.

For someone who receives antivenom treatment, it’s necessary to follow up on medical assistance even after initial treatment. In case of finding symptoms of serum sickness like swelling, fever, hives, joint or muscle aches, it’s better to get back to the medical service provider, particularly before encountering any emergency surgery need. For instance, there are some non-venomous snakes whose bites may make it difficult for blood to clot over time.

anaconda mouth

10- Snakebites Preventive Methods

It is true that snakes are usually more scared of humans than humans are scared of snakes. In order to keep people safe from snake bites, experts suggest to give them some space and stay out of their way. This way, they will never attack the person in front of them. Other than that, here are some ways one can avoid or prevent snakebites from non-venomous snakes:

  • Never try to capture, touch or tease non-venomous snakes.
  • Avoid getting drunk around the snake habitats. Since drinking causes weakness in reasoning and action, the person might not be able to defend or induce the right reaction at the time of attack. So, it’s better to avoid getting into such situations and make sure that the entire body stays active throughout the day.
  • At the time of doing outdoor activities, like mountain climbing, always wear boots so you can have a strong grip while climbing. Wearing boots also helps the climbers to maintain their balance and control while acting as a protective layer.
python snake attack

11- Vulnerability to Cure

Considering the fact that non-venomous snakes are not as dangerous as they are thought of, in most occasions people don’t have to worry about experiencing adverse effects. They may rest assured that they will have speedy recovery since most of the hospitals are now equipped with the appropriate medications as well as knowledge to handle a snakebite situation efficiently.

little snake attack

12- From Terrible Punctures to Edgy Body Jewelry

So far, you have learned about the snake bites and how to identify between the venomous and non venomous varieties. You can now classify a snake bite according to the species’ appearance, physical characteristic of a bite and furthermore, provide the required care for its treatment. If living near snake habitats or you are an outdoorsy type, you now know how to avoid getting bitten yourself and even save your friends and family from such unlikely circumstances. With all your newly gained expertise, you can follow the appropriate procedure to ward off any further health complications for yourself or those around you, who have been subjected to a non venomous snake bite.

Besides being alarming, snakebites have raised the curiosity of many people for ages; doctors, herpetologists like myself, shamans, artists and stylists. A relic of indiginous body art, snake bite piercing is an urban trend today. Wanting to get yourself a snake bite piercing that looks dangerously irresistible? check out our titanium snake bite piercing, the only Venomous Bite that makes you look elegant. 

Snake Bangle Presentation

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