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Re: Hydrodynastes gigas venom


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Posted by WW on March 12, 2003 at 08:36:03:

In Reply to: Hydrodynastes gigas venom posted by King Baboon on March 12, 2003 at 04:20:15:

:Hello,

:Some people on a french-speaking forum are giving me a hard time for writing that the false water cobra is venomous.

They are wrong, you are right.

: They say it's considered non-venomous in Belgium and Holland

Oh, that's OK then - a guarantee that everywhere else, people will develop serious symptoms, but residents of the Benelux countries are immune. Toxicity assessment by decree - an interesting approach...

: and that renowned scientists think the same (well, only one, Fausto Starace, don't know this guy).

Starace wrote a (generally very nice!) book on the snakes of French Guyana, where he does indeed describe H. gigas as aglyphous and inoffensive. Too bad nobody told the snakes.

Meanwhile, in the real world, there is a nice paper by Hill & Mackessy describing venom activities (and cautioning that this species is potentially dangerous), a paper by Porras et al. documenting the fact that the LD50 of its venom is about the same as that of Crotalus atrox, a paper describing a case of a petstore employee suffering repeated collapse and paralysis in the hours following a prolonged bite, a nice phot of an arm swollen to the shoulder in the London Zoo Reptile House, an account of permanent damage to an arm in a UK keeper, and plenty of further accounts of extensive swelling and pain.

People in the Netherlands and Belgium should be jolly pleased that they have been able to pass an edict so that none of this affects them!

:Please can anybody give me some scientific references about the toxicity of the FWC?

Here are some references:

Minton, S.A. & D. Mebs (1978) Vier Bißfälle durch Colubriden. Salamandra, 14: 41 43.

Stevens, K. (2000) Brief notes ont he captive care of the false water cobra (Cyclagras gigas, Dumeril, Bibron & Dumeril 1854). The Herptile, 25: 94-97

Hill, R.E. & S.P. Mackessy (2000) Characterization of venom (Duvernoy's secretion) from twelve species of colubrid snakes and partial sequence of four venom proteins. Toxicon, 38: 1663-1687.

Manning, B., M. Galbo & G. Klapman (1999) First report of a symptomatic South American false water cobra envenomation. Journal of Toxicology - Clinical Toxinology 37: 613. Mentions "3 brief episodes of muscle paralysis, causing him to faall, unable to move and speak... on telephone follow-up the patient reported swellingpersisted for 5 days, but muscle pain and weakness persisted for 2 months" Heart arrhythmias were also reported.

Hope this helps.

Cheers,

Wolfgang



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