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Article
November 1944

DIFFERENCES IN THE PATTERNS OF BITES OF VENOMOUS AND OF HARMLESS SNAKES

Arch Surg. 1944;49(5):331-336. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1944.01230020340005

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Abstract

Some students maintain that when a pit viper bites in self defense it merely sticks its fangs into the victim as a stab, whereas others insist that such a snake uses both its jaws in a true bite. Early reports of the last century, such as the classic ones of Weir Mitchell and Joseph Fayrer, vaguely describe pit vipers as actually biting, but the fact was not emphasized because then much more important aspects were crying for attention. Nearly all recent instructions for the treatment of snake poisoning flatly state that the bite of a venomous snake leaves only one or two fang punctures and is therefore readily distinguished from that of a harmless one, with its six rows of punctures made by small teeth (fig. 1). The purpose of this paper is to settle the question, which has practical value in the treatment of snake poisoning as well as

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