The distinction between venomous, potentially dangerous snakes and snakes considered to be harmless to humans is not always clear. A man was bitten by an assumed harmless pet snake, Rhabdophis subminatus (the red neck keelback), that had been obtained from a pet store. The patient experienced a severe coagulopathy with life-threatening hemorrhage unresponsive to transfusion. Since this snake frequently is sold legally in the United States, we wish to alert the medical community to its potential danger and to discuss the pathophysiological mechanism by which the coagulopathy was produced.
Cable D, McGehee W, Wingert WA, Russell FE. Prolonged Defibrination After a Bite From a 'Nonvenomous' Snake. JAMA. 1984;251(7):925–926. doi:10.1001/jama.1984.03340310039016
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