Zynda wrote:Does anybody what Special Forces of other countries do to protect against snake bites while wading through waters in marshlands etc? Any special kind of protective trousers etc?
This info may be a little outdated but apparently in desh, (dunno which unit or even times lines and all those details), they used to fill up their trousers with wet mud and tape their pants just above the ankle. Yes, this would add lot of weight penalty but they found it effective against snake bites. Snake bites do happen but the fangs rarely are able to reach the skin. Probably this was during training and stuff & may not be during missions but I am not 100% sure.
Zynda, considering the amount of aggressive vipers I once encountered at a short after-dark visit to a tea-estate here in a western ghat foothill part of Trivandrum district, I too had this question a while back to local snake experts as well as to a friend (ex-yahoodi chap). Also asked thislocal celebrity, but humble gent
, who advises newbie forest guard trainees. Some of the tactics I hear are:
1) More than during movement, when snakes can sense vibrations and vamoose, the danger is most for static places like watchposts, guard posts, trenches etc where snakes love to crawl in during hostile times of day or night, they use chemical sprays. The easiest one is kerosene: take a plastic bottle, fill it half with water and other half with kerosene, shake it hard until it bubbles and emulsifies, then make tiny hole in the lid and use the hole to draw a Lakshmana-rekha around your post, by squeezing out the kerosene. It apparently repels snakes, who hate the smell when their tongue touches the kerosene. Without rains, it lasts for four weeks. But rains wash it off and in rainy seasons and in that condition would need frequent application. Still considered the cheapest solution by a wide range of operatives from sarasawa trainees to housewives wanting to keep cobras looking for mice among groceries!
2) Yahoodis have some electronic ultrasound device that they claim does its job of repelling snakes. My query about how far ground can carry vibrations in a sandy desert, since snakes need that to be repelled, has been left unanswered. So I suspect theirs are useful for only snakes in their area of ops, mostly desert (where snakes apparently love A/C-ed guard posts during day time temperatures)
3) Some modern clothing claims anti-fang properties against dog bites from penetrating, so would come handy for snake fangs too. But in general, the high-ankle boots (most of bites will be at ground level, when a soldier steps on a pissed off viper or some krait) helps keep the fangs out. But if a snake is on a tree and you accidentally smack it, then not much can help.
4) Not medically qualified one, so these are all hearsay: most SF teams carry high-quality snake bite kits with broad-spectrum anti-venom for that particular area of operations (eg: regional venom specific for cyto-toxin for mamba, neuro-toxin for cobra/krait, hemo-toxin for viper etc) and can instantly administer that to a victim. The regional specific anti-venom is important, because in some cases, imported venoms would not work, due to local breeds having developed specialized venom protiens for their prey over centuries. But recovery is painful and slow even in a hospital, so on the field, it can result in a mission kill. So they try to avoid snakes by repellents and "being careful about where they step"