Filing Cabinet Rinkhals Erratum

An article was recently published regarding the removal of a snake from a filing cabinet. There were a couple of aspects that were incorrectly quoted or innocently misunderstood, which we have posted on this site so you can obtain the correct details. These are as follows:

  1. Night Adders (Causus rhombeatus) do occur in the region but are not common residents. They are however venomous, but the bite is not life threatening. It causes localised swelling and extreme pain.
  2. The Rinkhals (Hemachatus haemachatus) is a common resident but it is predominantly Neurotoxic, not cytotoxic as stated. There however have been reports of a few individuals having symptoms of a cytotoxic bite. A bite from this species is to be regarded as serious an urgent medical treatment must be obtained.
  3. The Rinkhals (Hemachatus haemachatus) is not a true cobra as stated, even though it looks like one in many ways. The reasons for this is because they have keeled scales, give birth to live young and other minor skeletal differences.
  4. The snake does not throw poison. Snakes do not have poison, only venom. It is a common error made amongst the general population. The difference is a venom is only effective in the blood stream, where as a poison is deadly if ingested, from contact etc... Venom on the skin has next to no effect to man.
  5. The venom also known as neurotoxic.... The description given is for cytotoxic venom which causes necrosis or rotting of the flesh. As the Rinkhals (Hemachatus haemachatus) is neurotoxic it affects the nervous system. This means that it makes movement and breathing difficult and if untreated or with more venomous species can lead to unconsciousness.
  6. The differences here are important to note especially when it comes to first aid treatment of a bite.

The paper was kind enough to print an article in a future release stating the various species in the Midrand region, the venom of the species and how one should handle an encounter or a snake bite before professionals arrive. Please note the treatment procedure is for initial first aid treatment only and in no way replaces that of professional care.


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One thing I have learnt over the years is to be specific. Very often common names are used which can lead to confusion. Take for instance the Brown House Snake (Lamprophis capensis) previous L. fulliginosus is also known as the African House Snake, African Lined Snake, which obviously could lead to confusion. It is best where possible to include the scientific name to avoid confusion.

This article was written froma different perspective for the same reason, Inaccuracies. Although it took a lot of fighting and moaning to the newspaper to publish what is correct and what I actually said is besides the point. There view as with so many papers, it is just a story....