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13 People Describe What It Feels Like to Be Bitten by a Venomous Snake

Updated November 5, 2019 13.8k views13 items

Across the world, there are more than 700 different species of venomous snakes. About 1/3 of these fellas are capable of killing a human being with a single strike. The number of victims these killers have claimed in the US alone would surprise you.

Yep, snakes are everywhere, and poisonous snakes are so common it seems every continent has their own brand of feared serpent. Hopefully, you’ll never have to worry about coming into contact with one of these beasts, but if you’re curious about what is it like to be bitten by a cobra, viper, or rattlesnake, you’re only human. Though a lot of the people who come into contact with venomous snakes might not make it out alive, some have survived to discuss what it’s like to be bitten by one of the world’s deadliest snakes. 

What happens to your body when a poisonous snake bites you? Read on to find out.

  • You Might Have To Have Your Limb Amputated

    You Might Have To Have Your Limb Amputated
    Video: YouTube

    Lian Blue was working in a garden when she happened upon a rattlesnake. She writes, “instant pain, like an animal trap snapping shut on my hand. I screamed and pulled my hand out to see two small bloody marks on my knuckles.”

    Unfortunately, Blue and her boyfriend were visitors to the Arizona locale and thought the ER was close - they were hopelessly lost. Her hand turned blue and her arm swelled to twice its normal size within an hour. Blue called it “agony.”

    It took 22 vials of antivenom and three days of intensive care before she was cleared. Her arm gained 15 pounds of fluid. She nearly had to have her arm taken off.

  • You Can Survive Multiple Bites

    You Can Survive Multiple Bites
    Photo: Marathekedar93 / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

    Jim Harrison is the director of the non-profit Kentucky Reptile Zoo. He's been bitten by venomous snakes at least 12 times. When he was admitted to the University of Kentucky hospital after sustaining a king cobra bite, Harrison was suffering from “blurred vision, problems with numbness in his face, difficulty moving his tongue, severe headache and crushing chest pain."

    Harrison said he was bitten by a king cobra he’d been treating for pneumonia, and he would've liked to continue the treatment since the snake ended up dying from its illness. However, he felt compelled to seek treatment since about 1/3 of king cobra bites are fatal.

  • Venom Can Run Through Your Veins Like Syrup

    Venom Can Run Through Your Veins Like Syrup
    Video: YouTube

    Africa is a continent filled with deadly serpents, and the cape cobra is in the running for its most lethal. Also called the yellow cobra and the copper cobra, the cape cobra’s venom is the most powerful of any species of cobra in Africa, and it has the consistency of syrup.

    Says one victim of the cobra’s bite, “I got tagged by a Cape Cobra some years back... I can assure you that the venom burns like blazes in the area of the bite.”

  • It’s Possible To Build Up A Tolerance To Venom

    It’s Possible To Build Up A Tolerance To Venom
    Video: YouTube

    When one rattle snake milker (which is a thing, by the way) was bitten by a cottonmouth, he wrote, “[it] feels like your hand is cut off and on fire [and you get] dizzy and sick.”

    However - and the mere fact that he's survived multiple bites attests to this - he adds that the acts of milking the snakes and coming into light contact with their venom frequently have improved his tolerance tremendously.