Is it dangerous?

February 28, 2018

There is a common question that is asked when discussing snakes and their medical importance - How dangerous is it?

Traditionally authors have attached danger ratings to venomous animals in an attempt to indicate the consequences of being bitten or stung, however, all that danger ratings convey is a superficial understanding of how we interact with the natural world.

We can all appreciate that driving a car down a busy street at 200km per hour is dangerous, but sitting in a parked car is not. It’s not the car that introduces that element of danger, but rather how we interact with the car. The same applies to snakes and other venomous animals.

In the same way, how we interact with a snake determines danger. A calm and relaxed black mamba is not dangerous at all, however if we try to kill it, try to harm it, or try to catch it, then create a catalyst for the element of danger as the animal will defend itself the best way it can... using it’s venom.

Many scorpion stings are the results of a random encounter. We often disturb scorpion from their shelters, or step on them at night. Through being more aware of these animals, we can reduce such encounters. Always use a torch at night, be careful when collecting firewood. Being more aware of our environment reduces the risks associated with scorpions and other animals.

Venomous animals represent the furtherest point of our disconnection with nature. The knee-jerk reaction of asking “how dangerous is it?” illustrates how we perceive the world around us. Our attitudes that we have towards venomous animals serve as a red flag as to how our culture demonstrates a fundamental ignorance of the most basic natural processes that give us life.

Fear of these creatures is a learned behaviour, passed down from neurotic parents, creating potholes of ignorance amongst clan members. It is this learned behaviour that manufactures fear. We are afraid of venomous animals not because of what we know, but because of what we don’t know.

If we really want to label things as dangerous, then the act of smoking, driving a car, skydiving, eating fast foods and drinking alcohol are all far more dangerous than snakes.

Articles

Scorpion Antivenom

In partnership with Lowveld Venom Suppliers and myself, Jonathan Leeming, we participated in an insert for 50/ 50 focusing upon the production of scorpion antivenom and it's use. This program was filmed at the Lowveld Venom Suppliers laboratory in Hazyview and White River, and features Chris Hobkirk, the Lowveld Venom Suppliers Team and myself.
Show me more...

Kowie Museum Ant-Ticks 2019

Jonathan Leeming was invited as the guest speaker at the Kowie Museum in Port Alfred for a day of insects, arthropods and conservation. It was a chance to inspire and educate the next generation of conservationists and underpin the importance of insects in the greater scheme of things.
Show me more...

Scorpions Of Southern Africa 2019 Revision

Thoughts on writing Scorpions of Southern Africa, lessons learned along the way, the 2019 revision and the future... The first edition of Scorpions Of Southern African was published in 2003. It was a learning experience that brought me to where I am today. My 2019 revision of Scorpions of Southern Africa is not out. In […]
Show me more...

The Truth About Spiderbites In Southern Africa

The subject of spiderbite is a rabbit warren of hoax emails, misinformation, misconceptions and ignorance. It's almost impossible to identify a lesion or wound as being caused by a spiderbite, and at the same time, it's is equally impossible to say that a spider was not involved. Common sense says that unless you watch the […]
Show me more...
1 2 3 4

Republish This Article

You are welcome to republish any of my articles in your newsletter, magazine or publication. 
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram