How dishwashing liquid saved a spitting cobra!

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Nick Evans
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How dishwashing liquid saved a spitting cobra!

Post by Nick Evans » June 14th, 2016, 12:12 am

Hi guys, thought I'd share a fascinating story that I was lucky enough to be a part of recently.

A few weeks ago, I was called out to a home to remove a Mozambique Spitting Cobra, which was hanging around by someone's backdoor.

When I arrived, the snake had taken refuge in a drain pipe. I bent down to look at the trapped snake, with my visor protecting my face, but it didn't spit at me, even though my head was so close to it. "Strange", I thought. I then pulled the snake out with a stick, and my heart sank. It appeared to be dead, until I saw a very feint bit of movement. My anger levels rised! "What did you do to it?" I asked, as calmly as I could. I assumed they had tried hitting it with something, although I couldn't see any visible injuries. "Nothing, we just poured Jeye's Fluid on it".

It is commonly believed here in SA (not sure about the rest of the world) that Jeye's Fluid works well as a snake repellent, but it DOES NOT. It will not keep snakes away from your property. However, if poured directly onto a snake, the toxic substance will kill it.

On my way home, I phoned my friend and fellow snake-catcher, Jason Arnold. I remember hearing something about applying dishwashing liquid in situations like this, so I thought he may know. He told me, "Yes, Sunlight (dishwashing liquid brand) liquid works miracles", and he told me how to apply it.

Needing to act as quickly as possible, I did what he said I should. I restrained the lifeless snake behind the head. That may sound easy, and it was, but it still required the same amount of concentration as if it was alive- didn't feel like a fang poking into my finger!

While I was holding it, I commanded my patient/helpful/tolerant mother to fetch the Sunlight Liquid and ear buds. The snake wasn't breathing, I couldn't see the trachea opening. I poured the liquid onto the snake, and started rubbing it all over its body. My mum then rinsed the Sunlight off with water, and we repeated the procedure. I used an ear bud to rub sunlight on top and beneath the cobra's head. We did it as thoroughly as we could, three times. As we did this, it started showing signs of life. That's when holding it got really tricky, especially with the slippery soap all over it!

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Jason explained that it would take some time for the Sunlight to kick in, but it would be trying to breathe. I opened the mouth, and saw it's trachea open up once. It didn't have the strength to open its mouth, and there was still residue from the jeyes fluid blocking the nose. I held the mouth open with a straw, and the snake was desperately trying to breathe. It took huge gasps of air, as if I had been holding it under water for a while!

At one point, we got a bit desperate, so my mum came up with a clever idea!
There's a delicious kids cereal here, chocolate-flavoured Corn Flakes. It comes with a funny slurpy spoon, where the spoon acts like a straw to suck up the milk. So I used that to give the snake CPR, by placing the spoon end in it's mouth, and the handle end in mine. I did the same with a straw, trying to gently inflate some air into the snake.
Not something you do every day, but I was desperate. It appeared to be working!

The snake started to squirm around, and its strenght had picked up dramatically, it was almost pulling out of my hand! So I left it alone. But it would quickly lose that strenght, as it was still struggling to breathe. So every 5 minutes , I would hold the head, and keep the mouth open with the straw. As soon as I would open the mouth, the cobras trachea opened up wide, gasping for air, and the strenght kicked in again. Everytime I did this, it slowly became more lively. I repeated this countless times over the next hour and a half, until finally, I could then see the tongue flicking out, and that's when we knew it was gonna make it!

An hour and a half after treating it with Sunlight, it started to move around freely. In fact, it was now desperate to get out of the tub I had it in! All of our efforts had paid off!

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I opened up his container the next day, and as you'll see in the pic below, it was ready to say thank you by hooding up and spitting at me. There's no payment like a nice thank you!

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I owe thanks to Jason for his advice, and my dear mother for her patience and quick thinking!

It was one of the most remarkeable things I have ever seen. A snake brought back from the dead, by something we all use everyday to clean the dishes? Don't ask me how that works, but it clearly does, what a miracle!

The snake was soon released, far from people!

To follow more of what I do, you can like my facebook page 'KwaZulu-Natal Amphibian & Reptile Conservation':
https://www.facebook.com/KZNHerpConservation/
www.kznamphibianreptileconservation.com

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Jeroen Speybroeck
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Re: How dishwashing liquid saved a spitting cobra!

Post by Jeroen Speybroeck » June 14th, 2016, 12:50 am

Now that's interesting and surprising... And, of course, good job!

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Kelly Mc
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Re: How dishwashing liquid saved a spitting cobra!

Post by Kelly Mc » June 14th, 2016, 3:44 am

Excellent share of innovation and fast talents in action!.. I especially liked your use of an ear bud as a perfect swabbing implement.

and youre mom sounds like the Best!

MCHerper
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Re: How dishwashing liquid saved a spitting cobra!

Post by MCHerper » June 14th, 2016, 7:10 am

Awesome job Nick! You are the man!

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Kelly Mc
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Re: How dishwashing liquid saved a spitting cobra!

Post by Kelly Mc » June 14th, 2016, 8:02 am

Actually more like Grace Olive Wiley :D

Funny I was half asleep and I thought you meant earbud as in the little phone curette sized earphones covered in foam, i woke up beside the laptop and took it in fully awake and saw the blue soap covered qtips.

Not every one would do what you did and it was all for the snake. Im convinced the urgency of events like these sink into the hands skills that no formal academic training can equal.

Beautiful save.

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Nick Evans
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Re: How dishwashing liquid saved a spitting cobra!

Post by Nick Evans » June 16th, 2016, 7:18 am

Thanks so much guys! :mrgreen: Appreciate the comments :thumb:

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dwakefield
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Re: How dishwashing liquid saved a spitting cobra!

Post by dwakefield » June 17th, 2016, 9:20 am

Very cool story! Way to go!

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Ameron
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What a Heart-warming Story

Post by Ameron » June 18th, 2016, 6:07 am

Thanks for being a Human when another creature had been needlessly damaged and was desperate for help.

Your story was educational, interesting & inspriing. Shine on!

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Nick Evans
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Re: How dishwashing liquid saved a spitting cobra!

Post by Nick Evans » June 20th, 2016, 9:32 am

Thank you very much :) :)

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Noah M
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Re: How dishwashing liquid saved a spitting cobra!

Post by Noah M » June 22nd, 2016, 4:23 am

Wow. That is a great story. Thanks for sharing.

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Hans Breuer (twoton)
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Re: How dishwashing liquid saved a spitting cobra!

Post by Hans Breuer (twoton) » June 24th, 2016, 5:11 am

What everyone said!

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Ribbit
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Re: How dishwashing liquid saved a spitting cobra!

Post by Ribbit » September 11th, 2016, 11:18 am

I just stumbled across this months-old post while searching for something else. What an amazing story! It shows that the rare combination of compassion, intelligence, and patience can do wonders. Thanks for telling us about this (not to mention doing it!).

John

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