The bite of a poisonous snake presents a major and generally underestimated threat to man. Snakes are almost world-wide in distribution, and it is necessary for each physician to be familiar with the varieties of poisonous snakes in his locality, the antivenins which are available, and the modes of treatment which may be undertaken. Such familiarity can prevent haphazard and incorrect management of the patient who has been bitten.
It is estimated that each year 30,000-40,000 deaths occur in the world from snake bites.1 The majority of these occur in India, where poisonous snakes present a far greater problem than elsewhere. In India, the fear of snakes is so great that some of the deaths attributed to snake bites are probably due to heart attacks or shock secondary to the dread of the snake, rather than to the bite itself. Because of this tremendous fear, some Indian practitioners have