Snakes (also referred to as serpents) are limbless creatures with elongated bodies covered with scales. The body is divided into head, trunk, and tail. The head may be oval, triangular, or the same width as the trunk, ending as a blunt snout. The head bears two eyes, two nostrils, and a mouth. External ears are absent since snakes do not posses auditory apparatus. The mouth of a snake is extremely distensible, enabling it to swallow large animals whole, without mastication. Venomous snakes have modified teeth called fangs in addition to ordinary teeth. Fangs are usually two in number, invariably located one on each side of the upper jaw. They may be grooved or canalised, and are connected to the venom glands which are a pair of modifi ed parotid salivary glands located one on each side, just below and behind the eye. All teeth are generally directed backwards which help in propelling a swallowed prey inwards, thereby minimising the possibility of it being disgorged.

This topic describes: Snake and fang apparatus, Snake venom, Families of venomous snakes, Epidemiology and clinical manifestations – Russell’s viper, Common krait and Cobra, General management as first aid, Complications, Management of snake bite injuries and Anti Sanke venom (ASV).

Venomous snake bites

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