At least 13 people have died from snake bites since the beginning of the year, statistics from the ministry of Health and Child Care reveal.
“The total snake bite cases reported during the week ending March 25, 2018 were 114 and one death. The cumulative figure for snake bites were 1 937 and 13 deaths,” the ministry said in its weekly surveillance update. The figures suggest a decrease in cases of both snake bites and deaths compared to the same period last year.
Snake bites claimed 38 lives in the first four months of 2017, while the total number of those bitten were 5 605.
According to the African Snakebite Institute, Zimbabwe has 81 snake species, 48 of which are highly poisonous.
Puff adders are the biggest culprits and are responsible for up to 90 percent of cases of deaths.
Its venom can kill a person within 18 hours or cause paralysis if treatment is delayed because of toxins which damage the human nervous system.
The black mamba is Zimbabwe’s largest venomous snake, reaching an average 2,5m in length but can get to as long as 4,5m.
It is extremely aggressive and will not hesitate to strike, very fast and agile, it can reach speeds of up to 20km/h.
Its venom is an extremely potent neuro and cardio-toxic mix, capable of killing a dozen men within the hour, without proper treatment and anti-venom, the mortality rate is almost 100 percent.
Zimbabwe’s forested areas also provide the perfect habitat for a variety of highly neurotoxic cobras, which include the Egyptian cobra, the spitting cobra and the Cape cobra.
The green mamba, the Gabon viper and the bush viper are some of dangerous snake species that prowl the country’s forests.