“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler” (Einstein)

I originally contacted Dr Khaldun back in June with the idea of doing a short video on venomous snakes in Malaysia from the perspective of a jungle trekker.  Five videos and six months later and we’ve covered the (basics) of this fascinating subject.

Was this excessive?  Too many videos? Too much information?  All I can say is that in the 7 years I have been living in the jungle I have come into contact with more venomous snakes than any other potentially live threatening hazard in the jungle – on average I end up close (within a few feet) to a venomous snake about once every two months, sometimes more.

Knowing how to protect yourself from getting bitten (common sense and appropriate footwear/gloves) and an understanding of the behaviour of these snakes will probably be sufficient to keep you out of harm’s way….but accidents happen and in these two videos we cover that eventuality.  In the first video Dr Khaldun explains the effects of the venom on the human body and, in the second, the basic first-aid procedures that can be applied.

Please note: in Australia washing a snake bite wound is not recommended as the hospitals have venom identification kits and don’t want you to wash off the venom present on the skin so that they can test it.  This test kit is not for identifying venomous snakes native to Malaysia so they are not used over here and, as such, you can wash the wound with clean water before bandaging it up.

I like it when things are simple but, talking to Dr Khadun, I began to realise that this subject is anything but.  To say that the cobras, kraits and coral snakes are ‘neurotoxic” and the vipers are ‘haemotoxic’ is a simplification as the venom components are more complex than that.  To guesstimate how long you have (after getting bitten) before life-threatening symptoms appear is just that – a guesstimate – there are many variables at work: was it a dry bite?  how much venom was injected?; the physical state of the victim; the site of the bite; does the victim panic or not? etc etc.

Hopefully these videos keep it as simple as possible and will give you some idea of what to expect (and what to do) in the event that you, or a companion, get bitten by a venomous snake.  I think it is knowledge that every jungle trekker should have as it would be awful to find yourself in a scenario where you had the possibility to save your friend’s life but couldn’t simply because you didn’t know what to do.

Finally I would just like to thank Dr Khaldun for all the time he put into (very patiently!) explaining to a layman like myself the basics of this complex subject.