NERVE AFFECTING TOXINS (NEUROTOXIC)
Major neurotoxic snakes include –
BLACK MAMBA, GREEN MAMBA, CAPE COBRA, FOREST COBRA, SNOUTED COBRA (formerly known as Egyptian Cobra), RINKHALS, SEA SNAKES.
Rinkhals have a Cytotoxic as well as a Neurotoxic venom.
Minor neurotoxic snakes include –
Coral Snakes, Shield Nose Snakes, Garter Snakes, Berg adders (generally do not cause respiratory distress).
The Elapid group: To many people, the cobras and mambas are the quintessential venomous snake. Most of these snakes elevate the head and spread the neck as a threat gesture. However, a number of other snakes, venomous and non-venomous, employ this defense as well. However when encountered, cobras and mambas usually try to escape, but occasionally defend themselves boldly and may appear aggressive.
The venom: Non spitting cobra and mamba envenomation is an extremely variable process. Most species cause profound neurological abnormalities (eg, cranial nerve dysfunction, abnormal mental status, muscle weakness, paralysis, and respiratory arrest).
It is difficult to determine the exact cobra and mamba contribution to overall snakebite morbidity and mortality. In most cases, bitten individuals do not see the snake well enough to identify it.
Mamba bites are considered more serious than bites from other elapid species. This is due to greater volumes of injected venom and more rapid onset of neurotoxic symptoms. Mortality is also higher.
Most snakebites are inflicted on body extremities. Since these snakes usually only bite when molested, bites on the hands and feet are common. Due to their size, bites to the head and torso is not uncommon with mambas.