Saturday, March 4, 2017

Cambodia - Very Venomous Snakes Found - Calliophis maculiceps

Calliophis maculiceps

Family: Elapidae

Subfamily: Elapinae

Genus: Calliophis

Species: maculiceps

Subspecies: maculiceps , atrofrontalis , hughi , michaelis , smithi

Common Names: Small-spotted Coral Snake

Local Names: Ular Pantai Bintik Kechil

Region: Southeast Asia

Countries: Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam

Calliophis maculiceps

Taxonomy and Biology

Adult Length: 0.65 m

General Shape: Medium in length, very slender and elongated, cylindrical bodied snake. Tail is short with little taper to tip of tail. Can grow to a maximum of about 1.30 metres. Head is small with rounded snout and tiny mouth ( probably too small to bite humans effectively ). Head is indistinct from neck. Eyes are small in size with round pupils. Dorsal scales are smooth and polished in appearance. Dorsal scale count 13 - 13 - 13.

Habitat: Lowland primary forest at elevations up to about 1300 metres. Some specimens have been found in rocky terrain in close proximity to forest streams ( not a commonly encountered species ) in forest.

Habits: Strictly a terrestrial and nocturnal snake with a mild and timid disposition. Often found during the day half buried in loose soil beneath fallen timber, under decaying fallen timber or amongst leaf litter. Will attempt to escape if disturbed and will only bite under extreme provocation.

Prey: Feeds almost exclusively on smaller snakes, but will eat small lizards.


General: Venom Neurotoxins
General: Venom Myotoxins
General: Venom Procoagulants
General: Venom Anticoagulants
General: Venom Haemorrhagins
General: Venom Nephrotoxins
General: Venom Cardiotoxins
General: Venom Necrotoxins
General: Venom Other

Clinical Effects

General: Dangerousness
Unknown, but potentially lethal envenoming, though unlikely, cannot be excluded.
General: Rate of Envenoming
Unknown but likely to be low
General: Untreated Lethality Rate
Unknown but lethal potential cannot be excluded
General: Local Effects
Insufficient clinical reports to know
General: Local Necrosis
Insufficient clinical reports to know
General: General Systemic Effects
Insufficient clinical reports to know
General: Neurotoxic Paralysis
No clinical reports for this species, but related species cause flaccid paralysis
General: Myotoxicity
Insufficient clinical reports to know, but a single case report is suggestive of myolysis.
General: Coagulopathy & Haemorrhages
Insufficient clinical reports to know
General: Renal Damage
Insufficient clinical reports to know
General: Cardiotoxicity
Insufficient clinical reports to know
General: Other
Insufficient clinical reports to know

First Aid

Description: First aid for bites by Elapid snakes which do not cause significant injury at the bite site, but which may have the potential to cause significant general (systemic) effects, such as paralysis, muscle damage, or bleeding.


1. After ensuring the patient and onlookers have moved out of range of further strikes by the snake, the bitten person should be reassured and persuaded to lie down and remain still. Many will be terrified, fearing sudden death and, in this mood, they may behave irrationally or even hysterically. The basis for reassurance is the fact that many venomous bites do not result in envenoming, the relatively slow progression to severe envenoming (hours following elapid bites, days following viper bites) and the effectiveness of modern medical treatment.

2. The bite wound should not be tampered with in any way. Wiping it once with a damp cloth to remove surface venom is unlikely to do much harm (or good) but the wound must not be massaged. For Australian snakes only, do not wash or clean the wound in any way, as this may interfere with later venom detection once in a hospital.

3. All rings or other jewellery on the bitten limb, especially on fingers, should be removed, as they may act as tourniquets if oedema develops.

4. If the bite is on a limb, a broad bandage (even torn strips of clothing or pantyhose) should be applied over the bitten area at moderate pressure (as for a sprain; not so tight circulation is impaired), then extended to cover as much of the bitten limb as possible, including fingers or toes, going over the top of clothing rather than risking excessive limb movement by removing clothing. The bitten limb should then be immobilised as effectively as possible using an extemporised splint or sling.

5. If there is any impairment of vital functions, such as problems with respiration, airway, circulation, heart function, these must be supported as a priority. In particular, for bites causing flaccid paralysis, including respiratory paralysis, both airway and respiration may be impaired, requiring urgent and prolonged treatment, which may include the mouth to mask (mouth to mouth) technique of expired air transfer. Seek urgent medical attention.

6. Do not use Tourniquets, cut, suck or scarify the wound or apply chemicals or electric shock.

7. Avoid peroral intake, absolutely no alcohol. No sedatives outside hospital. If there will be considerable delay before reaching medical aid, measured in several hours to days, then give clear fluids by mouth to prevent dehydration.

8. If the offending snake has been killed it should be brought with the patient for identification (only relevant in areas where there are more than one naturally occurring venomous snake species), but be careful to avoid touching the head, as even a dead snake can envenom. No attempt should be made to pursue the snake into the undergrowth as this will risk further bites.

9. The snakebite victim should be transported as quickly and as passively as possible to the nearest place where they can be seen by a medically-trained person (health station, dispensary, clinic or hospital). The bitten limb must not be exercised as muscular contraction will promote systemic absorption of venom. If no motor vehicle or boat is available, the patient can be carried on a stretcher or hurdle, on the pillion or crossbar of a bicycle or on someone's back.

10. Most traditional, and many of the more recently fashionable, first aid measures are useless and potentially dangerous. These include local cauterization, incision, excision, amputation, suction by mouth, vacuum pump or syringe, combined incision and suction ("venom-ex" apparatus), injection or instillation of compounds such as potassium permanganate, phenol (carbolic soap) and trypsin, application of electric shocks or ice (cryotherapy), use of traditional herbal, folk and other remedies including the ingestion of emetic plant products and parts of the snake, multiple incisions, tattooing and so on.


Key Diagnostic Features: Minimal to mild local reaction + flaccid paralysis

General Approach to Management: All cases should be treated as urgent & potentially lethal. Rapid assessment & commencement of treatment including appropriate antivenom (if indicated & available) is mandatory. Admit all cases.

Antivenom Therapy: Only antivenoms available are for species which are not closely related and it is uncertain if they will be effective, but should be considered for cases with significant envenoming, particularly if other forms of treatment are proving ineffective. The relative risks versus uncertain benefits of non-specific antivenom therapy should be carefully considered and discussed with the patient, prior to use.


1. Antivenom Code: SAsCRI01
Antivenom Name: Polyvalent Anti Snake Venom Serum
Manufacturer: Central Research Institute
Phone: ++91-1-792-72114
Address: Kasauli (H.P.) 173204

Country: India

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