There was this guy I know that was on a safari in Africa. He was walking with a bunch of field guides. They came across a deadly black mamba – the most feared snake in all the world. The man backed away slowly and yet the mamba came towards him. He turned and ran and the mamba chased him. Really…. Truly….. He was bitten and died in close to ten seconds. Really….Truly…. Oh Come On!
Snake bite myths are something else. I once was told this story by a person that obviously thought I knew diddily squat about snakes. I laughed and walked away, though I should have informed them that a black mamba does not chase you unless cornered. Even then, it will quickly take an escape route if given one. I should have also told them that a black mamba does not kill you in ten seconds, unless it gives you a heart attack from the scare.
This story illustrates the irrational fears that people have about snakes. The fact is, snake bites are almost always a case of someone doing something stupid. Maybe they tried to kill the snake. Maybe they stepped on it. Maybe they tried to play with it. I assure you they were not chased by it.
Snakes are creatures that simply want no part of anything that they can not eat. They do not wish to harm people. They can not eat us, and so we are useless to them. We may be a danger to them, and so they bite in self defense. Snake bites happen when we invade the reptile’s space.
The one exception to this rule might be the reticulated python or the Anaconda. These two snakes could almost certainly eat a child or small framed adult. The veracity of those claims is constantly debated. What is certain is that many snakes can kill humans. This does not mean they want to.
Venomous snakes bite purely in self defense. If they feel threatened, they will bite quickly and forcefully. The thing is, they sometimes do not even inject the venom. This is called a “dry bite” and is usually because the snake is reserving their venom for food sources. They do not want to waste their venom on us silly humans.
If you want to see the perfect example of people doing stupid things to get snake bitten, read all about this guy that got bitten in the face by a deadly pet gaboon viper. It is a good illustration of how we bring snake bites down on ourselves.
The bottom line is that if we leave them alone, they will do the same. If you come across a snake, ignore it and give it a wide berth. I assure you, it will not chase you….. Even in Africa.