A government security guard posted at the Central Poultry Development Organisation at Aarey Milk Colony was bitten by a bamboo pit viper on Sunday morning, while he was checking whether the building’s main gate was locked or not.
Sandeep Shankar Wavhal recuperating at the BMC-run trauma centre on the WEH in Jogeshwari (East), where he was rushed to after being bitten by a bamboo pit viper on Sunday morning
The incident occurred around 7.45 am after Sandeep Shankar Wavhal failed to spot the snake that was resting on the iron gate. Experts said snakebite cases related to bamboo pit viper are rare.
An eyewitness to the incident said, “Sandeep reported to work at 7 am and around 7.45 am, he went to check the main gate as usual. Suddenly, a green-coloured snake lunged at Sandeep and bit him on the left thumb. I was right behind him. I killed the snake in self-defence or else it would have bitten me as well.”
The main gate of the Central Poultry Development Organisation at Aarey Milk Colony on which the snake was resting
Soon after the bite, Wavhal started showing signs of dizziness and even complained of losing consciousness. His left thumb was swollen. Immediately, the other staffers informed the volunteers of Spreading Awareness on Reptiles and Rehabilitation Programme (SARRP), who have been attending snake calls at this centre regularly.
Wavhal was rushed to the nearest BMC-run trauma centre on the Western Express Highway in Jogeshwari (East). He was immediately administered antivenom and is said to be out of danger. But, the doctors have kept him under observation. Kaushalendra Dubey, SARRP volunteer said, “People believe that a bamboo pit viper is a mildly venomous snake, but in reality, its venom is haemotoxic.
It is powerful enough to paralyse the bitten part of the body. However, a bite from the bamboo pit viper is a rare occurrence.”After Sunday’s incident, the other guards have started taking extra precautions and are using gumboots while patrolling at night.
Speaking to this reporter, Kedar Bhide, a known expert on snakes, said, “A bite from the bamboo pit viper is uncommon, despite it being quite common around the SGNP periphery. But cases of trekkers in the Sahyadris, snake rescuers and villagers being bitten by this snake aren’t unheard of. It was quite nfortunate that the security guard was bitten by this snake.”
He also asserted that though the normal polyvalent antivenom can not be used as an antidote for this snake, no fatalities have yet been reported due to a bamboo pit viper bite. He explained that, generally, only swelling of the bitten area and a few common snakebite symptoms are seen.