|Chapter 11 - Page 2|
Leeches are blood-sucking creatures with a wormlike appearance. You find them in the tropics and in temperate zones. You will certainly encounter them when swimming in infested waters or making expedient water crossings. You can find them when passing through swampy, tropical vegetation and bogs. You can also find them while cleaning food animals, such as turtles, found in fresh water. Leeches can crawl into small openings; therefore, avoid camping in their habitats when possible. Keep your trousers tucked in your boots. Check yourself frequently for leeches. Swallowed or eaten, leeches can be a great hazard. It is therefore essential to treat water from questionable sources by boiling or using chemical water treatments. Survivors have developed severe infections from wounds inside the throat or nose when sores from swallowed leeches became infected.
Despite the legends, bats (Desmodus species) are a relatively small hazard to the survivor. There are many bat varieties worldwide, but you find the true vampire bats only in Central and South America. They are small, agile fliers that land on their sleeping victims, mostly cows and horses, to lap a blood meal after biting their victim. Their saliva contains an anticoagulant that keeps the blood slowly flowing while they feed. Only a small percentage of these bats actually carry rabies; however, avoid any sick or injured bat. They can carry other diseases and infections and will bite readily when handled. Taking shelter in a cave occupied by bats, however, presents the much greater hazard of inhaling powdered bat dung, or guano. Bat dung carries many organisms that can cause diseases. Eating thoroughly cooked flying foxes or other bats presents no danger from rabies and other diseases, but again, the emphasis is on thorough cooking.
There are no infallible rules for expedient identification of poisonous snakes in the field, because the guidelines all require close observation or manipulation of the snake's body. The best strategy is to leave all snakes alone. Where snakes are plentiful and poisonous species are present, the risk of their bites negates their food value. Apply the following safety rules when traveling in areas where there are poisonous snakes:
Walk carefully and watch where you step. Step onto logs rather than over them before looking and moving on.
Look closely when picking fruit or moving around water.
Do not tease, molest, or harass snakes. Snakes cannot close their eyes. Therefore, you cannot tell if they are asleep. Some snakes, such as mambas, cobras, and bushmasters, will attack aggressively when cornered or guarding a nest.
Use sticks to turn logs and rocks.
Wear proper footgear, particularly at night.
Carefully check bedding, shelter, and clothing.
Be calm when you encounter serpents. Snakes cannot hear and you can occasionally surprise them when they are sleeping or sunning. Normally, they will flee if given the opportunity.
Use extreme care if you must kill snakes for food or safety. Although it is not common, warm, sleeping human bodies occasionally attract snakes.
See Appendix E for detailed descriptions of the snakes listed below.
The polar regions are free of snakes due to their inhospitable environments. Other areas considered to be free of poisonous snakes are New Zealand, Cuba, Haiti, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Ireland, Polynesia, and Hawaii.
|POISONOUS SNAKES OF THE AMERICAS|
American Copperhead (Agkistrodon contortrix)
Bushmaster (Lachesis mutus)
Coral snake (Micrurus fulvius)
Cottonmouth (Agkistrodon piscivorus)
Fer-de-lance (Bothrops atrox)
Rattlesnake (Crotalus species)
|POISONOUS SNAKES OF EUROPE|
Common adder (Vipers berus)
Pallas' viper (Agkistrodon halys)
|POISONOUS SNAKES OF AFRICA AND ASIA|
Boomslang (Dispholidus typus)
Cobra (Naja species)
Gaboon viper (Bitis gabonica)
Green tree pit viper (Trimeresurus gramineus)
Habu pit viper (Trimeresurus flavoviridis)
Krait (Bungarus caeruleus)
Malayan pit viper (Callaselasma rhodostoma)
Mamba (Dendraspis species)
Puff adder (Bitis arietans)
Rhinoceros viper (Bitis nasicornis)
Russell' s viper (Vipera russellii)
Sand viper (Cerastes vipera)
Saw-scaled viper (Echis carinatus)
Wagler's pit viper (Trimeresurus wagleri)
|POISONOUS SNAKES OF AUSTRALASIA|
Death adder (Acanthophis antarcticus)
Taipan (Oxyuranus scutellatus)
Tiger snake (Notechis scutatus)
Yellow-bellied sea snake (Pelamis platurus)
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|Updated: 12 January 2008||
||Born on 30 October 1999|