Snake expert and author JOHAN MARAIS explains what to do if bitten by a snake while trail running.

With around 175 different snake species in southern Africa, there is a real chance that trail runners may encounter them.

While very few fatal snakebites are recorded in South Africa – around 12 per year – it is important to reduce the risk of a snakebite and to know what to do if someone is bitten.

Nine out of ten serious snakebites in Southern Africa result in cytotoxic symptoms – pain, gradual swelling, blistering and, in some instances, tissue damage.

Most of our fatal bites are from Black Mamba and Cape Cobra envenomation. The venom of these snakes is predominantly neurotoxic, causing progressive weakness that ultimately compromises breathing.

Avoid the bite

Stay on footpaths, watch where you are walking, step onto rocks and logs. Be careful

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