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Posted by regalringneck on October 09, 2002 at 06:22:54:
In Reply to: Re: Tri-color mussurana??..... posted by chrish on October 08, 2002 at 23:59:30:
The easy answer is none of us knows...But I offer this nugget up from my Clelia folder:
In Reply to: Re: Is Clelia clelia really harmless? posted by york on January 20, 1999 at 05:34:36:
: : : I know that mussaranas are rear-fanged and extremely docile, but aren't the adults capable of delivering a dangerous bite? Obviously, the juvenile that Ben saw was not a threat to him. However, I have read in several books (including "A Field Guide to the Snakes of Belize")that adults can be dangerous. This topic has always interested me because as a well-intentionned (but ignorant) teenager, I bought a large, handsome mussarana believing it to be harmless. I naively carried it around my mother's house as if it were just a big kingsnake. Not until years later did I read that perhaps I had been foolish and lucky.
They are normally treated as harmless because even adults do not normally bite when handled.
There are two reports of envenomation:
Pinto et al (1991) reported on a 4 year-old girl bitten in Brazil, who suffered extensive swelling and discolouration of the arm.
Chippaux (1986) mentioned haemorrhagic, necrotic and inflammatory symptoms in a table, but without giving details or case histories.
I guess that, in these sue-happy times, one should not use the word harmless for something like this. Basically, treat it like you would a hognose - most people freehandle them without problems, occasionally someone gets a sore arm. You can decide whether you want to worry about it.
: On a side note: "A Field Guide to the Snakes of Belize" states that the mussarana is known only from the hardwood forests of the Belize, Cayo, and Stann Creek districts. It does not mention the Toledo district where Ben saw the juvenile. So, it is either an oversight or maybe, Ben, your photograph and notes would be of interest to the Belize Zoo, which sponsors the field guide.
It is not very surprising that it should occur in Toledo as well - this appears to be one of the less-well studied areas of the country.
:Is there any info on how serious a bite from a large Mussarana is? Never seen any reference to it, but they seem like a fairly large rear-fanged snake.
:Just wondering if you knew (yet!).