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Did Deadly Snake Kill Her Cat?

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THE bite mark on the pet cat and (above) a snake bit on a human arm for comparison.

By RICARDO WELLS

Tribune Staff Reporter

rwells@tribunemedia.net

A DEAD cat with bite marks near its abdomen has raised suspicions that a non-indigenous, poisonous snake could be lurking in north-west New Providence.

An irate resident of the Grove West community, who asked for her identity to be concealed, said the discovery of her slain cat yesterday led them to the “shocking discovery” that no emergency medical facility in The Bahamas has snake anti-venom in stock.

The resident said shortly after they found their cat and discovered it had been bitten, they immediately phoned emergency services to report the incident, fearing the wound was inflicted by a snake that, if left alone, could injure or kill other animals or nearby residents.

“Emergency services, once they heard my concerns, told me to call animal services. I did and got no answer,” she said. “After a while, I called 911 again, and they transferred me to emergency medical service who said they didn’t have the means to address my matter.”

The resident said it was at this point they were told the medical facilities in the Bahamas doesn’t stock anti-venom due to the lack of need for it.

“They told me straight up, snakes here aren’t poisonous and as such, there is no need for anti-venom.

“I couldn’t believe it. In my mind I was saying, ok, even though we don’t have a history of poisonous snakes, you can’t say for sure whether any were smuggled in or accidentally brought in, in the thousands of shipping containers that come into the country,” the resident added.

“I was looking at my cat. I could see the bite mark,” they said. “That bite mark was real. It looked like a big snake and it looked unlike anything I’ve seen before. That’s why I pushed this matter. What if that was a person or, at that, a child that stumbled across that snake and got bitten.

“Would the police say call animal control? Would they say call the Humane Society? What the heck, we’ve had serious reports of strange snakes before in the Bahamas. It isn’t out of the realm of possibilities. Hell, look it up.

“You can’t say call animal control or call the Humane Society, those are people who would literally be putting their lives on the line because we don’t have any anti-venom? Tell me how will we treat them?”

The resident added: “As a country, there is no conversation about pre-checks for containers coming here. We don’t hear anything about companies and people importing trees and soil. What’s coming in with that?

“I wouldn’t expect anyone to put their lives on the line to look in a trailer or anything, that’s dangerous. Added to that, now you’re saying if you do, and you get bite, we can’t treat you here. We’re going to have to airlift you to the US.

“What if that person’s visa isn’t valid or they don’t have the money to pay for an air ambulance. That’s not a two-hour process and I am sure that every minute is critical when you get bitten by a poisonous snake.”

Bahamas Humane Society Shelter Manager Percy Grant, who was contacted Sunday by the same resident, said he was still working to determine the source of the bite.

He told The Tribune his initial analysis of the wound left him with questions that needed to be answered.

“I spoke with that person. What I saw, it didn’t look like a centipede bite,” he said. “I’ve seen this before, while we don’t have any poisonous snakes in the Bahamas, a large centipede can kill a small animal.”

Back in 2012, two men in Williams Town, Grand Bahama stoned what they believed to be a cobra.

In that incident, the two men said the snake stood up in a striking position with its hood expanded, and lunged at them.

The men said after killing the animal, they took its remains to a local pest control worker to be analysed.

The Department of Agriculture made an effort to recover the remains of the snake for further testing, but were unsuccessful.

Subsequent to this, there have been several reports of various, non-indigenous snake sightings.

Snakes native to the Bahamas are not harmful, but when confused, are often unnecessarily killed.

The phenomenon has led to several campaigns by snake enthusiast and national environmental groups to protect snakes, absent of any laws.

Bahamas National Trust launched a campaign against snake killings in 2016.

Comments

joeblow 2 years, 6 months ago

Considering how easy it is to smuggle things into this country it would not be surprising if poisonous snakes or other undesirable animals are here.

If it is true, it would be interesting to see how the animal rights activists would address the concern of a cat being killed by a snake.

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ashley14 2 years, 6 months ago

That's too bad. It's mean to bring something like that to the island.

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licks2 2 years, 6 months ago

We have the cat's body. . .relevant testings are in order. . .then we can vector to capture, destroy or study the presence of non-indigenous venom producing snakes in the Bahamas. I remember as a little child I saw big curled tailed lizards only in the Grand Bahama. . .only the little indigenous ones were in New Providence. . .now about 40 years later. . .the Northwestern New Providence is overran with the curled tailed ones like in grand Bahama. . .or somewhere else who have been imported unknowingly from shipping centers being GB and NP in the areas of the islands where the strange lizard in sighted.

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zephyr 2 years, 6 months ago

No, it was a deadly centipede!

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kairosmatt 2 years, 6 months ago

Snakes aren't poisonous. They're venomous.

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ThisIsOurs 2 years, 6 months ago

Make sure to correct the doctor's grammar if you get bitten;)

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ashley14 2 years, 6 months ago

Both words are correct actually. Get out books on snakes they will be referred to both ways. The words have the same meaning.

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kairosmatt 2 years, 6 months ago

A little late, but Venomous snakes are often said to be poisonous, but poison and venom are not the same thing. Poisons must be ingested, inhaled or absorbed, while venom must be injected into the body by mechanical means. While unusual, there are a few species of snake which are actually poisonous. (from wikipedia). Also Lionfish are venomous, not poisonous.

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Dawes 2 years, 6 months ago

This is a silly article. Our native snakes are good for the environment as they keep the rat numbers down as well as do other things. As everyone knows we have a problem with these snakes being killed when they are found. Instead of trying to educate people that we shouldn't kill them the Tribune writes an article made up of complete guess work, which would only lead to more snakes being killed.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 2 years, 6 months ago

Wait until you encounter a coral snake...hopefully you know the rule about its alternating rings of three different colours.

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UserOne 2 years, 6 months ago

Agree with Dawes. A lot of speculation and no facts which will no doubt incite more hysteria about snakes. The Tribune needs to be more responsible. They appear to have lowered their standards to tabloid level.

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sheeprunner12 2 years, 6 months ago

Raccoons ........ Casurinas ......... Brazilian pepper ........ Lionfish .......... now Everglades pythons?

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John 2 years, 6 months ago

This is a little over the top to say it was a poisonous snake that got the cat. At least this one. Raccoons and cats leave similar marks when they bite and if they are rabid and the bite goes untreated, then it can become infected and result in taking the cat away. For good. Have the bite marks been there for a while and the homeowner is only noticing ithem now because the cat is dead? This is mating season and there is such things as cat fights. And the cry for snake anti venom in The Bahamas in like buying snow showels instead of hurricane shutters.

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John 2 years, 6 months ago

At our last residence there was also a cruel animal killing our pets. Especially the dogs.. one came home dragging his hind legs as his entire hip bone had been slashed apparently with a machete. Another had a leg broken then after it healed another leg severed after being caught in some kind of trap. Then the third dog just lay on the lawn and died. He had invested poison. Then we found out the cruel animal that did this to our dogs and other pets was our neighbor next door. So we moved.

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ohdrap4 2 years, 6 months ago

would it not be cheaper to install a fence?

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sheeprunner12 2 years, 6 months ago

John, the right word is INGESTED. Bol

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John 2 years, 6 months ago

Not to forget English is a foreign language to me.

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ashley14 2 years, 6 months ago

The holes do look like a snake bite. There is a little girl here in the paper that was bit yesterday by a water moccasin, and the bites look the same. I doubt it was a cobra, but someone could of let one loose. I hope there isn't a male and female. I don't think they mate with other snakes. They'll kill other snakes on the island.

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infoseeker 2 years, 6 months ago

I think most people are missing the point here. It could very well be a poisonous/venomous snake, yes that's up for debate but the real issue is that for a country that imports so much we have no anti venom on the island. If by happenstance we accidentally got a poisonous snake here and a person is bitten there is no way to help that person.

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joeblow 2 years, 6 months ago

Equally, if not more important is whether or not we have medication in the country for something more probable like rabies!

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sealice 2 years, 6 months ago

An irate resident was angry because her unlicensed animal was killed? Cat's aren't supposed to be here in the first place lady go to the dump and get another dirty useless critter to crap all over your house..... there's no news so print anything here???

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John 2 years, 6 months ago

OK, Let's follow the argument if favor that an already cash strapped country to stock up on antivenom: When was the last time someone in the Bahamas got bitten by a poisonous snake? OK step two: Have you known of anyone in The Bahamas being bitten by a poisonous snake? OK stage Three: Did your grandparents know..OK got the point. So even if the snake bite treatment was stored here, what do you think will happen to it if and when it is needed. It will either not be found or it will be years out-of-date. And yes, creatures like scorpions have been discovered in shipments, even in boxes of sweet peppers and other produce. That's why most are required to be chilled before they are shipped. But usually they are discovered and killed. or since they don't have a mating partner they(or it) die(s) off.

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ohdrap4 2 years, 6 months ago

The resident said it was at this point they were told the medical facilities in the Bahamas doesn’t stock anti-venom due to the lack of need for it.

Most places do not stock snake venom. You fly it in from a lab when needed.

There is a snake venom lab right in South Florida.

You might not have the time to do this, as the cat cannot report to you what bit him/

My cat was bitten by a small snake. We removed he snake, put it in a box and the took the snake and the cat to the vet.

one of the fangs of the snake was in the cats skin so the wound was treated.

the snake was released, but i do not know if it survived with one fang.

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bogart 2 years, 6 months ago

...everyone has been so focused on the dead cat and the owner ......there are many pet lovers who keep extraordinary numbers of cats it seems as they get older....who really should seek help.....especially when these animals are constantly fed ....and then relieve themselves on the neighbours painstainly well manivured lawns...lovingly cultivated gardens......and it is impossible to deter these cats.... it should not surprise anyone that some racoon just simply put an end to this ...there are simply too many irresponsible pet owners who refuse to take proper measures to care for their pets.

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