Most people see a snake and their instant reaction is to panic, they freeze and this terrifying fear makes them sweat, get goosebumps or like my mom, yell uncontrollably even though she is one of the shyest persons in the world. Just seeing a snake on TV or the computer monitor makes them cringe in horror and feel disgusted, sick and hyperventilated. I will never understand this fear of snakes a.k.a Ophidiophobia.
There is also the other extreme, people who constantly look for snakes. There is a profession for reptile lovers and they are called herpers or herpetologists. While most people prefer to stay away from these lovely creatures, herpetologists go out of they way to find snakes and reptiles. Most of these people keep snakes as pets such as pythons or boas but a lucky few keep rattlesnakes or even mambas as their deadly companions. You read that right, Mambas. A snake that I would like to see in person but not up-close unless it is from behind a bullet proof glass tank.
These snakes are considered some of the deadliest snakes in the world. Thanks to antivenin and other methods, most people treated with antivenim in a timely manner can now survive the “death’s kiss.” Otherwise, say your last prayers. While searching online I found some stories of people who survived the “Death’s Kiss” and lived to fight another day.
One of the deadliest and most aggressive snakes in the world, the Black Mamba is said to be docile unless threatened. I am not sure that I want to prove them wrong since this baby can be unpredictable. It will not only bite once but several times and its venom is the most fast acting venom out there. Its venom attacks the nervous system i.e. the brain. Unlike hemotoxin venom, this type of venom will not rot your muscle tissue, it will simply kill you. That is the good thing. If you survive a bite from a Black Mamba, there will not be any side effects.
Jack Seale, a South African herpetologist who was crazy enough to sleep in a room full of black mambas without any incidents made medical history. One day Jack was putting a snake into a cage when his assistant bumped him. He was somewhat distracted which lead him to release the snake’s head ahead of time. The black mamba strikes so fast and before he knew it, he was bitten on the ankle. I am pretty sure Jack knew that he would die within minutes without proper treatment. He injected himself with antivenim and adrenaline to counter attack the toxins. Jack had a theory in which he believed that since the black mamba’s venom attacks nerve function without damaging body tissue, he thought that life support could keep a person alive until the body worked to flush the toxins out. A doctor who heard his lecture about this theory quickly put Jack in life support.
Jack went unconscious or so they thought for a whole week but he could hear everything. Doctors considered pulling the plug on him since he was declared clinically dead on the second day. He listened to everything that they had said, while wondering the entire time how many people had been buried alive. This must have been a pretty crazy thought. On the 8th day, Jack managed to move his finger and came back to life without any damage to his body.
Danie Pienaar also a survivor of the kiss of death described how minutes within getting bitten he could taste metal in his mouth while his fingers and lips felt a tingling sensation. Soon enough it “felt like all the hair on my body stood up.” He too became paralyzed and just like Jack, he could hear, touch and see everything but could not move. Danie had hear about Jack’s story and before he became paralyzed, he told the nurses not to turn off the machines. Just like Jack, Danie’s body fought the toxins and a few days later he went back to his regular life.
Now it is standard practice to keep black mamba’s victims on life support for 14 days to make sure they are not dead. There is also another story of the symptoms after a black mamba bite at snakes-uncovered.com
Not all mambas’ bites are deadly. You can also receive a dry bite in which you only get the honor of being bitten but not the deadly side effects of being injected with death as it happened to Mark Laita. Mark is a photographer who was taking pictures of deadly snakes for an upcoming book he plans on printing. He claims that he did not feel or notice the snake until the next day when he was looking at the photographs. Lucky man.