Prevention of Ophidic Accidents

As part of the social responsibility and action activities, the Clodomiro Picado Institute shares information about snakebite prevention, so people can take the necessary measures to avoid these types of accidents.

In Costa Rica alone, an average of 600 cases of snakebite envenomings are documented on humans each year, from which one or two result in the death of the patient. An undetermined number of people who suffered snakebites are left with permanent physical damages, which can lead to psychological and work problems with an economic impact that has yet to be determined.

How to prevent snakebites?

Some practical and useful advice to minimize the probabilities of snakebites:

  • Always use closed shoes (like boots), preferably knee high; which can be made out of rubber or leather.
  • Snakes bite when they feel threatened. Most of the snakebites occur on the feet or legs, when the person accidentally steps over these animals.
  • Do not put your hands or feet directly inside hollow trees, caves, or under rocks or branches.
  • Use some sort of instrument to remove rubble or weeds, snakes tend to hide in these places.
  • Always try to be with someone else, if an accident occurs, the other person can come to your aid.
  • Be careful when picking up fruit, some snakes live, or can be found, in trees and bushes.
  • If you find a snake on the field get away, do not bother it, and do not try to catch it.
  • Remember that snakes are wild animals that can try to bite, be it venomous or not. It’s better to be safe!
  • Control rodent populations in cellars, farms, and empty plots. Snakes feed of these types of animals, so an increase in rodent population favors an increase in snake populations.
  • Try to share these suggestions with children and young ones so they know how to avoid snakebites.
  • Some species of snakes are not venomous, like the Mussurana (Clelia clelia), which are natural predators that feed of venomous snakes.
  • In Costa Rica, snakes are protected by law # 6919, Wildlife Conservation Act.
  • Some other animals like the armadillo and birds of prey (e.g. sparrow hawk) are also snake predators, so they contribute to the control of snake populations.
  • Do not kill snakes indiscriminately. Contribute to the protection of the environment in general, this will guarantee the natural balance of snake populations and all living beings in the ecosystem.