Figure 1-4. Coral snake.
IDENTIFY CHARACTERISTICS OF POISONOUS AND NONPOISONOUS
Poisonous snakes have two rows of teeth (one row on each side of its mouth)
and two fangs that create puncture wounds. Nonpoisonous snakes have four to six
rows of teeth (two or three rows on each side of its mouth) and do not have fangs.
Figure 1-5 shows the bite pattern of poisonous and nonpoisonous snakes. Sometimes
a poisonous snakebite will only show one fang puncture (the snake may have lost a
fang or the other fang may not have struck flesh). Also, the fangs of a coral snake are
smaller than those of a pit viper and the fang marks may be difficult to detect.
Poisonous snakebites can also be recognized by the signs and symptoms caused by
their venom. Some symptoms may not appear for 6 to 8 hours after the bite.
a. Pit Viper. Pit vipers have a hematotoxic (also called hematoxic) venom that
attacks the casualty's blood system.
There is immediate pain and swelling at the site of the bite.
The skin may become discolored (bluish).
The casualty may become weak and go into shock.