Liuzhou Laowai

Random thoughts on life in Liuzhou, Guangxi, China


Just a week after I mention snakes in Liuzhou comes the news that a 66-year-old man in south Liuzhou was lying on his sofa at home,  watching television, when he was bitten by a cobra.

Fortunately in a way, Mr Zhu had been bitten in his youth by the very type of snake I mentioned last week, the banded krait, , and knew what to do. He quickly tied a towel tightly around his lower leg and washed the wound with copious amounts of cold water to dilute the venom.

His family then took him to Liuzhou Liuzhou Workers’ Hospital where the medics administered the appropriate antidote.

Meanwhile, police searched his house and although they found an old, shed cobra skin, they were unable to find the snake. Finally, they called the south Liuzhou Fire Department who managed to locate and remove the 1.5 metre long, one kilogram snake.


One doctor in the Workers’ Hospital, a Dr. Huang Wei is an expert on the local snakes and their bites. Most common are cobra and bamboo vipers (trimeresurus stejnegeri). Both are venomous.

Dr Huang said that this time of year is peak season for snake bites and that “This year the Workers’ Hospital has treated dozens of cases of snake bites”

His advice is that one should follow Mr. Zhu’s example and bind the wound as tightly as possible, wash it and, if possible, apply potassium permanganate. (I’m sure you have some hanging around the drinks cabinet somewhere!) Then get to a hospital. Of course,  it helps if you can identify the snake or, at least, describe it.

Snakes, according to Dr. Huang, tend to hide in humid, ground floor homes and if there is snake food  around, especially rats and frogs, then snakes are more likely. Cobras love a bit of rat steak and a frog’s leg.

Many years go, when I lived in Hunan, my neighbour informed me that everyone was really worried because there were no rats around. That baffled me (no rats sounds good to me) until he pointed out that it probably meant there were snakes around and the rats had fled.

All that said, most snakes are shy creatures and will only bite if they feel threatened, although cobras are more aggressive than most. I’ve seen snakes in local parks but they were always moving away from me.

Must have been something I said.

. This entry was posted on Friday, August 25th, 2017 at 12:44 am and is filed under Health. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

2 Responses to “Cobra”

  1. Alan Says:

    Hmm … interesting comments from Dr Huang, particularly about binding the wound and the use of potassium permanganate. It got me doing a little research and I came across this website …

    The “How NOT to Treat Snakebite” part seems a little at odds with what he says.

  2. Liuzhou Laowai Says:

    The site you link to does recommend binding the limb (Quote: Stop lymphatic spread of venom – bandage firmly), but is against potassium permanganate. Unfortunately, it doesn’t say why. Anyway, the chances of anyone having a handy supply of permanganate is probably even lower than that of being bitten in the first place.

    I do like the advice, thoiugh, that if we are bitten we muust rush to some hospital in India!

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