Thailand is a safe country, but there are some dangerous animals that you should be aware of so that you know what to do if you encounter them.
Thailand has more than 160 species of snakes and about 50 are poisonous.
Encounters with snakes are not uncommon, especially in the countryside, but are usually without accident.
The snake is deaf, but it senses vibrations, so when you are walking through a dangerous area, such as tall grass, stamp your foot to signal your presence.
In case of an encounter, keep calm and move away, remembering that the snake is as scared as you are and will look for the best way to escape.
In Issan (north-east of the country), it is customary to repeat " chok dee "(good luck) several times in case of an encounter.
In case of a bite :
- Clean and disinfect the wound with an antiseptic (hydrogen peroxide, Betadine, Dakin).
- Never use alcohol or ether, which are ineffective on the majority of bacteria present in the mouths of snakes. These products encourage the spread of venom.
- Remove any potential tourniquets, such as rings and bracelets, to avoid obstructing the vascularity should the swelling spread.
- Loosely fit a crepe bandage, thus blocking the lymphatic circulation used by the venom to spread, without compressing the bloodstream.-
- If necessary, place a splint to immobilise the limb and provide some relief from the pain.
- If possible, apply ice wrapped in a cloth.
- The analgesic effect is immediate and oedema is prevented.
- Gather as much information as possible about the circumstances of the bite, the appearance of the venom, the evolution of the wound, etc., to tell the emergency medical team as soon as they arrive.
Not to be done!
- Incising the wound may increase the surface area of contact between the venom and the tissues and increase the risk of necrosis and superinfection.
- Sucking on the wound is useless, as the venom is located in the hypodermis and this act is dangerous for the rescuer if there are oral lesions.
- Give a drink known to increase the heart rate: alcohol, coffee, tea, stimulant...
- Place a tourniquet blocking blood flow causing catastrophic vascular necrosis.
- Injecting serotherapy outside a hospital ward because of the risk of allergy.
See also: Unusual: a woman in central Thailand fights a snake that came out of her toilet
I knew a Guadeloupean who had one normal eye and the other that went the other way.
One day I asked him where it came from and he told me that he had been bitten by a centipede when he was a child, and I was surprised, thinking that it didn't bite a centipede, I didn't know what a centipede was.
The scolopendre is a crawling insect that likes to hide in shoes or bags, and bites when it feels threatened.
Its bite is not fatal (except sometimes on children) but it is extremely painful and can cause pain for several days.
When in the countryside, check your shoes before putting them on and make sure your bags are securely fastened, and be even more careful when it rains.
In case of a bite :
- You can clean the wound and disinfect it with an antiseptic.
- Take paracetamol for pain.
- If the bite involves a child or a person with allergies, it is best to consult a doctor.
When I first encountered a scorpion I was worried, but then it was explained to me that the sting was not fatal, just painful.
In addition, the scorpion is often paralysed by fear in the event of an encounter, and it is very easy to catch it by the tail, with the hand or a stick.
The most dangerous would not be the big blacks, but the small whites.
Well, they are not very dangerous, but they do sting if you step on them without realising it.
In case of a sting:
- You just need to disinfect the wound.
- Go to hospital if you have an allergy.
Every year, jellyfish claim victims on the beaches of Thailand, their stings generally very painful and can be fatal.
Avoid swimming on cloudy days, as this is when you are most likely to encounter them, as they avoid the sun.
See : How to protect yourself from box jellyfish stings in Thailand
In case of a sting:
- Put vinegar on the wound.
- The best remedy is often on the beach, and is the leaves of the ipomoea pes-caprae (see our article : Ipomoea pes-caprae, the liana against jellyfish stings.)
- Depending on the severity of the injury, seek medical attention.
It may be the smallest on the list, but it does the most damage, carrying several diseases, such as malaria, Japanese encephalitis, dengue, chikungunya and zika.
For information on how to protect yourself and treat bites, see :
The mosquito and how to protect yourself
Natural anti-mosquito remedies: 8 methods to protect yourself
6. Spiders in Thailand
It is not uncommon to encounter large spiders in Thailand and they do bite, but it is very very rare.
They are mostly scary, but not dangerous, at least not all of them, and there are only 3 deaths from spider bites per year in Thailand.
7. The Gecko tokay
In general, they are not dangerous, but they can be aggressive if the female protects her eggs or if you try to catch them.
According to friends, its bite can hurt, so be careful!
For more information see : The Gecko tokay, a large lizard
See also : Pack of aggressive dogs in Thailand: a tourist attacked
Photos: cobra : Asim Chaudhuri Scorpion: mikebaird; Jellyfish: Luc Viatour; Gecko tokay: Gerald Yuvallos
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