What to do if you get bitten by a snake in Thailand

What to do if you get bitten by a snake in Thailand

More than 200 species of snakes live in tropical Thailand, more than 60 of which are considered poisonous and dangerous to humans. Snakes don't usually attack unless provoked or intimidated, but knowing how to deal with a snakebite won't hurt if you live or travel in the Land of Sssmiles. How a snakebite is treated can mean the difference between life and death.


The likelihood of snake crossing in Thailand is slightly higher during the rainy season, when some snakes take shelter from the weather by crawling into people's houses. Snakes love to hide, so it's best to keep your home clean so you don't accidentally disturb a cobra curled up in a pile of laundry.

Check out the characteristics of the most poisonous and dangerous snakes in Thailand. If you see this, don't try to deal with it on your own. Admire its beauty from a safe distance.

The most venomous snakes in Thailand include cobras (one-legged cobra, king cobra, Siamese spitting cobra), kraits (Malay krait, striped krait, red-necked krait and multi-striped krait), some types of keeled (red-necked keeled, green keeled, speckled keeled, blue-throated keeled) and vipers (Malay viper, eastern Russell's viper, white-lipped viper, big-eyed viper and many others).

Many species are similar in appearance. Swelling or discoloration in and around the bite area indicates that the snake was venomous.

If you have been bitten by a snake (venomous or not), follow these steps…

  1. Stay calm. Even if a venomous snake bites you, it might not release venom. If venom does enter the body, it can take 30 minutes for severe symptoms to arise.
  2. Rinse the bite wound with clean water (if you have some). Do NOT: cut the wound, use electrical items on the wound, put ice on the wound, put herbal medicine on the wound, drink alcohol, or take painkillers containing aspirin.
  3. Keep still. Minimise movement of the body, especially in the area of the bite wound. For example, if you get bitten on your hand, keep it still. Movement causes more venom to be absorbed and causes the venom to travel around the body.
  4. Do NOT attempt to suck the venom from the wound. This is a common myth about avoiding fatal snake bites. It is not proven to remove the venom from the body and could increase the damage at the bite site.
  5. Get to the nearest hospital as soon as possible. If the snake bite victim stops breathing before arriving at the hospital, first aid should be performed on them. Some venomous snakes such as cobras, king cobras, and kraits have venom which paralyses the human body. Deaths that occur as a result of bites from such snakes are usually due to cessation of breathing. To call an ambulance, call Thailand’s emergency ambulance hotline on 1669.

Victims of snake bites may have a hard time remembering what a snake looked like due to the stress and also because snakes can be fast. You will most likely remember if you know about snakes. There are various snake identification groups on Facebook that are great to follow if you want to get to know the snakes of Thailand. Major groups include the Isaan Serpents, Bangkok Serpents, Phuket Serpents and Pattaya Serpents.

If you're serious about herpetology, Indraneil Das's Naturalist's Guide to Snakes of Southeast Asia is a must-have. The book teaches how to correctly identify and distinguish snake species in Thailand and Southeast Asia.

You are most likely to encounter snakes in rural areas of Thailand. Although Bangkok is also home to snakes. Yesterday, a Thai woman took to Facebook to complain about how a mall in Bangkok refused to take responsibility after she was bitten by a venomous red-tailed viper in the mall's car park. Her leg was badly swollen and most likely hurt, but she survived.

Every year, about 2,500 people die from snakebites in Southeast Asia. According to the World Health Organization, between 81,000 and 138,000 people die each year from snake bites worldwide.

The best way to avoid a trip to the hospital (or worse) is to let the snakes do their thing. If you see a snake in Thailand, stay calm and stay away from it. It may bite you if you hiss.