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Russell vipers

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Is there really any reason for rural fear and anxiety about Russell’s Vipers?

Russell vipers
Daily Star News

image caption Snake bites become a fear in rural areas during monsoons

 

Panic has spread over Russell vipers snakes in several districts of Bangladesh. Many people are expressing concern about this matter on Facebook. Many are preaching that a snake bite is a quick death.

The situation has reached such a point that a campaign to kill Russell’s viper snake and return it is being run on Facebook. In such a situation, a politician in Faridpur has publicly announced that a reward of 50,000 rupees will be given for each one who can kill Russell’s viper snake.

Many say that Russell’s vipers breed very quickly. As a result, the abundance of these snakes in the rural areas of Bangladesh will pose a threat to people.

The question is, how justified is the level of concern expressed about Russell’s Viper?

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Snake researchers and experts say that there is treatment for snake bites of this species and if timely treatment is taken, the risk of death is reduced.

Non-governmental organization Deep Ecology and Snake Conservation Foundation says Russell’s viper is not the most venomous or deadly snake in the country.

Rather, half of the people who die from snake bites in the country every year are killed by snake bites. However, Russel’s viper bite can also lead to death if not treated on time.

Snake bites become a fear in rural areas during monsoons

Health Minister Samant Lal Sen told BBC Bangla that there is a sufficient amount of antivenom in the country and he has ordered that antivenom be kept in hospitals everywhere. Antivenom is the substance that is effective against the poison or can neutralize the poison.

If the antivenom is injected quickly, the antibodies to the antivenom neutralize the venom. As a result, the life or limb of the affected person is saved.

Incidentally, some people have died due to the bite of Russell’s viper in some districts in Bangladesh recently.

In some areas of Manikganj near Dhaka, at least five people have died after being bitten by poisonous Russell’s viper snakes in the last three months, government officials said. After that, there were reports of such snakes being caught and killed in several other districts including Bhola.

According to the Health Department of Bangladesh, four lakh snake bites occurred in 2023. Of these, 750,000 people died, most of whom were bitten by cobras and cobras.

However, the exact number of people killed by Russell’s viper bites is not available.

How justified is the panic?

This species of snake named Russell’s viper was thought to have disappeared from Bangladesh many years ago.

But since the last 10-12 years, they are seen again in these snake bite incidents. The snake has been spotted in several districts in the last few months.

The person who announced the reward in Faridpur for killing Russell’s Viper is Shah Md Ishtiaq Arif. He is the general secretary of Faridpur district of ruling Awami League.

Mr. Arif told BBC Bangla that the people there are not going down to the fields to harvest paddy because of fear.

“There has been a scary situation. So in our meeting we have asked the leaders and activists to be aware. We have asked them to drive away the snakes. We will discuss with the authorities what can be done,” he said.

Md. Abu Said, an Ashoka Fellow in the United States and a wildlife and environmental expert in Bangladesh, and Farid Ahsan, a professor in the Department of Zoology at the University of Chittagong, are well-known researchers and experts on snakes for a long time. Both of them are the authors of the book on prevention and treatment of snake and snake bites in Bangladesh.

Both of them, however, say that the fear being expressed about Russell’s viper is purely fear-mongering and exaggerated.

“Many are spreading fear without knowing. It is ingrained in the mind that everyone is afraid of snakes and dies from its bites. There is panic because not everyone knows that treatment is good. If you go to the nearest health complex very quickly, the solution can be taken forward,” said Professor Farid Ahsan to BBC Bangla.

 

Russell’s Viper’s Dashange dies quickly?

Researcher Md. Abu Saeed says that the patient dies after being bitten by Russell’s viper, this is also not true, rather the patient does not die easily.

“A patient does not die easily before at least 72 hours. In Bangladesh, there are also reports that people lived up to 15 days after being bitten by this snake.

Bangladesh Toxicology Society President Dr Md Abul Faiz has written a book on snake bite and its treatment.

There he also mentioned that the patient may die after an average of 8 hours after Gokhro snake bite, 18 hours after Keute snake bite and 72 hours or three days after Chandrabora snake bite. In most cases it is necessary to apply antivenom within this time frame.

This moon snake is Russell’s viper. Its presence is being observed in some areas of the North-Western part of Bangladesh, especially in some districts and grasslands along the banks of the Padma River.

The Deep Ecology and Snake Conservation Foundation says it has the seventh highest known subcutaneous median lethal dose (venom level) of snakes in the country (including sea snakes). So Russell’s viper is not the most venomous or the deadliest snake in the country.

Md. Abu Saeed is one of the co-researchers of the study titled Russell’s Viper of Bangladesh, Its Grums and Threats on Human Being published in 2019.

Russell’s Viper’s Dashange dies quickly?

He said that the presence of Russell’s viper has been seen in some places in 22-24 districts of the country. Chittagong Medical College Venom Research Center has this snake in some places of 27 districts.

According to him, it is less lethal than the cobra or the coyote, but the venom of this snake is more diverse. “As a result, delay in treatment creates multidimensional complications in the body.

That’s why antivenoms no longer work. Lungs and kidneys are gradually affected. At one point, there is a lot of blood loss, then if you give more blood, the body does not have it”.

According to Professor Farid Ahsan, the risk of being bitten by a Russell’s viper can be greatly reduced if you seek treatment within 100 minutes.

Mr. Sayeed says cobra or cobra bites are often not felt but a Russell viper bite causes immediate swelling and the snake does not go away immediately.

anxiety about Russell’s Vipers?

“That is why the patient or others can be sure that the snake is visible after the bite. A doctor can quickly administer antivenom. If so, the risk is also reduced. Because of this, it is less dangerous than other venomous snakes,” he said.

However, the Deep Ecology and Snake Conservation Foundation says that Russell’s viper venom is treated with poly antivenom used in Bangladesh.

So the statement that there is no antivenom is completely false. “But there is a shortage of trained doctors, antivenom supplies and ICUs”.

Regarding the campaign that is going on because this snake has spread in the land or fields, he said that in some places including Manikganj, farms have been cleared where there was pasture before.

“This has resulted in snake infestation and food shortage. And in some areas, there are no more foxes, khatash, beji, guisap because there are multiple crops on the land.

“The ecosystem has been destroyed and they are being driven out of their habitat and now they are floating in the river Padma Meghna Jamuna. But still there is no cause for panic,” he said.

He said that people can be saved from snake bites if they are a little careful. Professor Farid Ahsan said that the propaganda that is going on is also not correct.

More information about Russell’s Viper

Researchers say the Russell’s viper is a good swimmer and can give birth to 3-63 young at a time. These babies mature in two years. Their gestation period is six months.

These snakes are usually nocturnal or nocturnal and are not usually found in human habitations. They prefer bushes, crop circles or large holes in the ground to stay.

Professor Farid Ahsan says that if the amount of rats eaten by this snake was not there, the crop production would have been damaged.

“They live in the grass, in the bushes. So caution can be taken when visiting these places. If you shake it with a big stick, the snake moves away. They will only move if the farmers fall on gumboots and shake them with sticks before they land. So there is no reason for unnecessary panic. But one must be careful,” he told BBC Bangla.

 

The dreaded venomous snake Russell Viper (Chandrabora, Bora or Uluberia) is a skilled swimmer and has spread to different parts of the country in river currents and flood waters. Therefore, the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change issued a statement requesting everyone to exercise caution.

While the presence of Russell’s vipers is alarming, it is important to note that human encounters with these snakes are unlikely, the guidance statement said. This snake usually lives in lowland grasslands, forests, thickets, open forests, agricultural areas and avoids human settlements. The snake is matte in color and can easily blend in with the ground. If people go too close to the snake without noticing, the snake will attack in fear of danger.

What to do to avoid snake bites

# Take extra caution when driving in areas where Russell Vipers have been spotted.

# Be careful while walking in tall grass, bushes, agricultural areas.

# Do not put hands and feet in the hole.

# Wear boots and long pants when working in the affected area.

# Must use torch light while traveling at night.

# Keep the surroundings of the house clean and free of garbage.

# Take special care while removing fallen trees, firewood, straw.

# If you see a snake, do not try to catch or kill it. And

# If necessary call National Helpline 333 or inform the nearest Forest Department office.

What to do if you are bitten by a Russell Viper

# Where bitten, that part of the body cannot be moved. If this snake bites the leg, you have to sit down, you can’t walk. Stinged hands cannot be moved. As a result of the contraction of the muscles in the movement of the arms and legs, the poison can quickly spread through the blood and cause poisoning.

# Wash the affected area gently with soap or gently wipe with a wet cloth.

# If there are watches or ornaments or amulets, clothes etc. on the body, remove them.

# Do not cut, needle, or apply any kind of dressing or other application to the affected area.

# Don’t waste time going to Ojha if bitten by a snake.

# Go to the nearest hospital or healthcare center as soon as possible.

# Don’t panic, Russell Viper antivenom is available free of cost at the nearest government hospital.

Health and Family Welfare Minister Dr. Samant Lal Sen said, the country has enough antivenom and orders have been given to keep antivenom in hospitals everywhere.

What can be done to reduce Russell Viper outbreaks?

Beeji, snake, bagdash, gandagokul, forest cat, macho cat, tila nag eagle, stork, madan taka and some species of snakes eat Russell’s vipers and keep their numbers in check. Due to the indiscriminate killing of all these wild animals by humans, the Russell Viper is increasing in nature. So avoid unnecessary killing of wild animals and destruction of their habitats when you see them.

It should be noted that the Russell’s Viper is a protected animal under Section 6(1) of the Wildlife (Conservation and Security) Act, 2012. As the Russell Viper protects crops by eating rodents, it also plays an important role in maintaining the balance of the environment and preserving biodiversity. Many life-saving medicines are made from the venom of these snakes. Snake killing is a punishable offence, avoid killing snakes.

Under the guidance of Environment, Forest and Climate Change Minister Saber Hossain Chowdhury, Bangladesh Forest Department is taking various steps to deal with the situation. A request was made to various local authorities and conscious societies to implement awareness programs locally. The situation is being actively monitored and updates will be provided as needed.

Russell’s viper should not be feared, but awareness should be raised

Russell’s viper snake

The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has said that awareness should be increased without panicking about Russell’s viper. This was informed in a statement sent by the ministry on Saturday (June 22).

While the presence of the Russell’s viper is alarming, it is important to note that human encounters with the snake are unlikely, the statement said. This snake usually lives in lowland grasslands, thickets, open forests, agricultural areas and avoids human settlements. The snake is matte in color and can easily blend in with the ground. If people go too close without noticing, the snake will attack in fear of danger. Russell’s vipers are good swimmers and have spread to various parts of the country in river currents and flood waters. For this, everyone is requested to be careful.

The statement on what to do to avoid snake bites states that extra caution should be exercised when traveling in areas where Russell’s vipers have been sighted; Be careful when walking in tall grass, bushes, agricultural areas; Hands and feet cannot be put into the hole; Boots and long pants must be worn when working in the area concerned; Torch lights must be used when traveling at night; The surroundings of the house should be kept clean and free of garbage; Special care should be taken when moving firewood, straw; Do not try to catch or kill a snake if you see it; If necessary, call the National Helpline number 333 or inform the nearest Forest Department office.

Russell’s viper snake :

It is said about what to do when bitten by a snake, the bitten limb cannot be moved; Stings in the legs must sit and read, cannot walk; Don’t move your hands when you are bitten – the contraction of the muscles in the movement of the joints of the hands and feet can cause the poison to spread quickly through the blood and cause poisoning; Wash the affected area gently with soap or gently wipe with a wet cloth; Watches, ornaments or amulets should be removed; Do not prick, needle, or apply any dressings to the bite site; If you are bitten by a snake, don’t waste time going to Ojha; Go to the nearest hospital or healthcare center as soon as possible; Do not panic and go to the nearest government hospital to get antivenom.

The statement on measures to reduce the prevalence of Russell’s viper further states that Beji, Gussup, Bagdash, Gandagokul, Forest cat, Mecho cat, Tila nag, Eagle, Crane, Madan tok and some species of snakes eat Russell’s viper and keep their numbers under control. Due to the indiscriminate killing of these wild animals by humans, the number of these snakes is increasing in nature. For this reason, if you see wild animals, you should avoid killing them unnecessarily and destroying their habitats.

According to the statement, under the guidance of Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change Saber Hossain Chowdhury, Bangladesh Forest Department is taking various steps to deal with the situation. Various local authorities and conscious societies have been requested to implement awareness programs. The situation is being actively monitored.

Health and Family Welfare Minister Dr. Samant Lal Sen said, “There is enough antivenom in the country. Antivenom has been ordered to be kept in hospitals everywhere.

 

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