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Re: Banded Krait Attack?


[ Rispondi ] [ Spedire la Risposta ] [ HerpForum - Asia/Pacific Rim ]

Inviato da David Williams on Marzo 09, 1999 at 19:29:28:

In Reply to: Banded Krait Attack? posted by Jessica on Marzo 07, 1999 at 18:26:19:

: Would a Banded Krait attack a human in the daylight if aggravated and in a strange place such as a warm room in the U.S.? How would it attack? I'd appreciate any info. Thank You!

The first thing to realise it that snakes DO NOT ATTACK.

If a person is bitten by a snake, it is always in response to a perceived threat that the snake encounters. In the case of Bitis arietans, such a threat would be a smelly foot landing (either) on it, or next to it (within threat distance which in this species is ca.0-100cms). Alternately in the case Dendroaspis polylepis, threat distance can be from 0-20 metres, and while avoidance behaviour is the normal first defense, depending on the degree of alarm caused (ie: a slow moving human usually prompts avoidance, whereas a running human may prompt defence), the snake may become immediately defensive, and bite first, ask questions later. Nevertheless, even if the human victim doesn't view their actions as having been threatening, the important consideration is the degree of threat experienced by the snake.

In captivity, many snakes become conditioned by the experience of regularly being handled, approached, etc to reduce their threat distances - a "tame" snake is one which through conditioning suppresses the threat perception/response instinct. Hence captive Dendroaspis may eventually learn not to be threatened by the close proximity of a handler, and may allow themselves to be handled without avoidance/defensive behaviour.

In the case of your banded kraits, bites do occur in daylight, especially where captive snakes are being handled, and for that reason alone it is important to handle the animal as carefully in daylight as you would at night. As to what circumstances might cause the snake to bite - feeding response (mmmmmm... that finger looks tasty today!); defensive responses to rough handling, sudden movement, pain caused by inappropriate or rough handling, etc. My advice from experience is that no matter how well you think you know the specimen in question, always remember that it is essentially a wild animal, and always will be a wild animal. You perception about what is threatening to the snake means nothing at all - the snakes perception about what is threatening means EVERYTHING!

Cheers


David Williams


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