People learn themselves, adopting the experience of others and gaining their practice. Need to understand the psychology of thin snakes, know all their habits, natural features, habitats. With one of these professionals could walk across the steppes of southern Kazakhstan our photojournalist Constantine Khilko.


Catch crawling snakes, it was decided to Shardara region of South Kazakhstan region. There, on the border with Uzbekistan, you can still see those members of the suborder of reptiles that are so interested. It is on the southwest side of Chardara reservoir, about 15 km from the small village of Bazar-Ak-Tube, we started searching for poisonous snakes, as material for the production of biologically active substances.

Meet Alexander – serpentolog Zmeelov and with 15 years experience. His interest and the Central Asian cobra viper. Officially, these two samples of families of venomous snakes are not entered in the register of reptilian fauna of Kazakhstan. However, this list is long lost its relevance because of the old age, he was drafted back in the 70s of last century. And now it is not clear that these snakes are not found.

Viper lives in the dry foothills and mountain slopes covered with shrubs, rocky gorges in with springs in river valleys and cliffs along the banks of canals.

Sometimes the whole team are going to viper. Often there were cases when, under a small stone found 10 snakes at once.

Here she viper – the largest member of the family in our fauna. It can reach almost 2 meters in length and weigh up to 3 kg. It feeds on small adult individual animals, such as field mice, lizards less often, and sometimes may not be disdained by other small snakes.

Finding a snake, Alexander cautious and slowly removes her head to the side.

Without making any sudden movements, head viper Zmeelov presses a special tool, the so-called “hook”, and gently takes her just below the head.

Since this is one of the most dangerous snakes for pets and humans, Alexander has to be extremely careful. In an emergency it can make shots at the enemy.

Once the snake was safely locked in his hand, puts its Zmeelov trophy in normal linen bag.

Landing in the bag requires some skill and action sequences. Hold the snake with one hand behind his head, and the second open bag. It dipped its tail down. When the head of the snake came up to the edge of the bag, the animal is quickly thrown to the bottom.

We can only tighten the neck. By the way, put a small bag of snakes is sometimes more difficult than large.

A couple of hours walk, we smiled a great success: we found a queen snake – cobra. Or rather – the Central Asian cobra. This is a rather large snake whose length is on average reaches 1.6 – 1.8 meters. Of the 10 species of cobras, the Central Asian cobra – the only one that can be found on the territory of the CIS.

A characteristic pose cobra threatening – congenital element that is passed on genetically. Even newly hatched snakes vertically lift the front torso and extend your neck at the slightest danger. If a threatening posture is not enough, can cause false cobra bite – it hits the opponent’s head, while not opening his mouth to protect, so your teeth from damage

Because of this behavior in natural conditions is extremely rare to undergo a bite from a cobra. In general, most venomous snakes to attack before the enemy in the face of a person or animal is not part of her diet, it will be any typical for this kind of methods to prevent the enemy. Whether it’s just a loud hiss, Kobrin rack with a hood or a twitch of the tail in which there is a horny rattle.

Habitat it is similar to the viper, found in the mountains at an altitude of 1,500 meters above sea level. It prefers hilly terrain with plenty of hiding places. The main diet of the cobra are amphibians, reptiles, rodents and small birds

The very manner in the Central Asian cobra bite rather peculiar. If viper sting causes instant his long teeth and in the next moment his head thrown back, the cobra that has teeth in shorter times more often than not hoping for a lightning shot. Usually, it seizes its prey, and not only leans right back, but also compresses several times with a force of the jaw and a sort of “touches” them to sink their teeth have probably necessary to inject and the amount of venom.

Venom of this snake is extremely strong – in addition to the paralysis of the nerves, it also destroys the blood. He has a neurotoxic effect, causing convulsions, paralysis, respiratory tract infections. However, deaths are recorded infrequently, because of the preventive action of the Central Asian cobra.

Before working pereobulsya Alexander, replaced light trainers for combat boots with high ankle boots. Safety First.

Zmeelovov becoming less and less because the person working with venomous snakes, every day, mortal danger.

It is in these places are hidden snakes from unbearable heat when the sun is at its zenith.

By manipulating the hook, an experienced fisherman can catch almost any snake. He presses the hook for fixing the head of the snake and the subsequent capture of hand and can pick up a snake lying on the ground and move it to a more suitable surface.

Caught snakes in bags delivered to the car. Here Alexander transplant them from the bags into special transport containers and boxes are already lucky serpentarium. During the day he managed to catch two and a viper cobra

Before you put the snake in the designated place for it, it must be more carefully lay out of the bag and carefully manage to catch again. From the first time, as a rule, you can not squeeze your head to the floor of a cobra. Snake every now and then tries to bite. Alexander skillfully evading its attacks, one hand holding the body of quirky, and the other by fixing its head.

In serpentarium snakes are placed in cages reserved for them.

The hook is also used in the laboratory. They are convenient to carry snakes on a short distance. For example, the capture of biologically active substances.

After the capture is the so-called “milking” when the snake’s poison taken, and then released back to freedom.

Poisonous snake can be easily distinguished on the head broader than torso.

A powerful and muscular body largest specimen is not so easy to hold in your hand. Viper, trying to free the mind and makes sharp jerks. Sometimes she even manages to bite the hunter. Sasha on personal experience convinced of the resourcefulness of these creatures. Here is just to help fixation plate.

Viper venom has a pronounced haemolytic activity and toxicity is second only to poison cobra. By the bite of this snake venom enters the 50 mg, and without timely and proper treatment is not unusual death. The poison produced by a mechanical “milking” – massage venom glands. After using it for antidotal serum and, more importantly, for the manufacture of various medicines.

In serpentarium venom in snakes is collected once every 2-3 weeks. From small snakes are 20-40 mg of venom (dry or in other words the crystalline weight) of major – to 50-300 mg per yadovzyatie (eg, 300 mg – of viper, 194 – of a cobra, 137 – by copperhead , 50 – from efy)

By the bite of a snake, in any case not to impose burn! First, it does not prevent the penetration of the poison into the overlying tissue, and secondly, burn, especially viper bites and Viper, pinches vessels, contributes to further disruption of metabolism in tissues of the affected limb. As a result, ever more necrosis and collapse that could result in serious complications. Cauterizing the sting is ineffective, because the length of poisonous snakes teeth sometimes reaches more than a centimeter. The poison deep into the tissue, and superficial cauterization can not destroy it. A locally produced cauterization scab, under which the pus begins. Remember the main thing – a man after being bitten by a snake as quickly as possible to bring to the hospital, even if it seems that the danger was past.

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