Durban – A woman from Gqeberha in the Eastern Cape captured a rare image of a puff adder attempting to strike her after it had already bitten her ankle when she stepped on it while out running in Van Stadens Gorge near Crossings.
Local snake catcher Mark Marshall said the woman was running back to her vehicle near Crossways when she stood on a puff adder just over a week ago.
Marshall said the venomous snake instinctively struck and bit the woman on the foot.
“She was so calm, turned around and began taking pics of the snake.
“The snake was still in its aggressive state,” he said.
According to Marshall the woman managed to get a picture of the snake striking.
“She was quickly found and taken to hospital where she received 50ml of the polyvalent anti venom,” he said.
In a first hand account of the incident shared by Marshall on Facebook, the woman said she had been running in sandals, which in hindsight was a mistake, and she was rushing to complete her run in order to join up with her friends to go rock climbing.
“I wasn’t keeping as close an eye on the ground as I should have.
“Add to that the fact that the snake was small and well camouflaged, and it’s no surprise that I stepped on it,”she said.
The woman said she felt a prick on her ankle and her heart sank when she saw a short fat snake, between 30cm to 40cm long, on the grass behind her.
“My first thought was, ‘Aag no, seriously?’ and my second thought was, ‘I need to ID it in case I need anti-venom’.
“So I fumbled with my backpack to get my phone out, and forced myself to stay calm enough to draw my unlock pattern.
“I stepped as close to the snake as my nerve would allow, given recent events, and took a series of pictures as it slithered into the grass,” she said.
She said she called one of her friends and sent him her pin location after he advised her that she could be in big trouble.
She was soon taken to hospital.
“I asked if I'd likely be able to go home before the end of the day, and she said it definitely wasn't a dry bite and I'd probably have to stay in hospital for several days,”she said.
She said the emergency room doctor advised her that she could have an allergic reaction to the antivenom and he further explained that there was a possibility that she may need to go on a ventilator if her situation progressed.
“They gave me an adrenaline shot first to reduce the chance of an allergic reaction. A few minutes after starting the antivenom IX4 my throat started itching a bit, and after a while I got a mild rash. They decided to give me a cortisone shot and a phenergan shot. Right after the phenergan shot I started feeling super light-hearted and nauseous. So then I also got a couple of syringes of an antiemetic pushed into my IV as well,” she said.
She said after the nausea and itching subsided, she started feeling much better.
“They made me spend two nights in ICU with a million cables attached to me… My foot swelled up quite a lot more over the two days I was in hospital,” she said.
The woman said she was very lucky that she got help quickly and that it was not worse.