Crazy reaction to ribbon snake bite

So yesterday I was walking my dog and saw a little ribbon snake in the road and I didn’t want a car or lawnmower to get him so I brought him to the creek in my neighborhood. about halfway through the walk he got tired of me and bit me once on the hand and once on the arm. he held on to my hand for just a minute but he held on to my arm for about 10 minutes I just allowed him to do so because I figured he felt safer and it wasn’t hurting me but after a few minutes it started to burn like a bee sting and in the next few minutes to hours the places where I was bit swelled up and turned purple I’m just wondering if anyone has heard of this maybe a weird reaction to his saliva or maybe they are an unknown rear fanged snake lol. by the way I keep snakes and catch and relocate them all the time in Louisiana so I’m used to getting bit by other colubrids like kings rat snakes garters water snakes and anything else has taken a bite out of me but I’ve never reacted like this. Also while he was biting me he was chewing and nawing working towards the back of his mouth so what do u guys think sorry this was so long winded pictures comin now

1 Like

1 Like

That’s today almost 24 hours after he bit me I have pictures of my swollen hand I’ll post when my girlfriend gets off work they are on her phone

So… Little known fact, garters and ribbons are actually classed as opisthoglyphous and have a Duvernoy’s gland. They are not generally classed as medically significant but some people, yourself apparently, have strong reactions

You probably would benefit from a trip to the doctor as well. So that at least they are aware should any complications arrise


Thanks so much that’s really awesome to know I can’t believe I’d never heard that!! Lol I’ll have to be more careful with them. What are some of the potential complications I could see from this? I’d like to stay away from the hospitals unless I really needed to go because of the virus and whatnot and like I said it’s been about 24 hours and I feel fine.


I just meant your general practitioner, from what I can see I do not think it requires a hospital visit (and I fully understand wanting to avoid medical centres right now)

Typically you are looking at the same type of complications you might see with a bad reaction to a bee sting: local edema, ecchymosis, hemorrhagic vesicles, and lymphatic involvement. It is typically extremely rare that you see systemic involvement but if you begin to suffer from anaphylaxis or if it spreads much further or you see massive swelling, hemorrhage, or necrosis then I would absolutely seek medical treatment ASAFP

1 Like

Oh… And as a follow up on this. Absolutely be more careful. There is strong evidence that, like with bee stings, repeated exposure to the venom results in a hypersensitivity and increases the likelihood of a more extreme reaction


Maybe that could be why this got so bad other than me letting him chew on me like an idiot because I’ve been bit by garters and stuff so many times and never reacted at all but thanks so much for educating me I’ve always considered ribbons and garters to be the most harmless thing and now I’ve got a whole new respect for them I wish that more people knew this was even a possibility I’ve only heard people describe them as completely harmless so this is all news to me lol I was so confused when my skin reacted like that


Yeah, it is one of those weird things that flies really under the radar with people. Part of it probably has to do with the knee-jerk reaction to the word “venomous” and the negative connotation it can have on our hobby.

Here is a decent pic I was able to dig up via Google of the “rear-fang”


I wish more people knew about this info so thank you very much for sharing. There are some people who purposely sting themselves with bees because they believe it has rejuvenation properties. I have also seen this one guy on YouTube who injects himself with various venoms from potent snakes like vipers so he can build immunity. I’ll link it if interested. It’s a pretty interesting documentary

1 Like

@nathan_e Ya I heard about that. I think he injected himself with mamba venom or something. Ive come to sorta view the Duvernoy gland as basically a pre-cursor venom gland. Even basic colubrids like corns have it. I wonder if theres any snakes that have neither a Duvernoy or Venom gland :thinking:

Yeah, he was on the Reptile n’ Chill podcast last year. Crazy crazy guy.

There are a number that do not. It seems like it is an organ that has been kept/lost a number of times in a number of lineages of snake over the course of their evolution


Lol I’m glad I can be the example of ignorance for everyone to see. I’ve heard of colubrids having it but I totally underestimated the amount that do and I obviously underestimated garters and ribbons just because I’ve been catching them In my yard since before I can remember and ive been bit so many times and never felt anything probably because this was the first one to really hold on to me for long enough it’s talked about much more with hognoses while With garters and ribbons it’s never really mentioned.

1 Like

Hey, nothing to get down on yourself about. None of us knows everything about everything, we are all ignorant of a great many things.

You have shown the best way to deal with ignorance: you learned from it, incorporated it, and are now going to move forward with that new knowledge in a positive direction. That is most commendable :+1:t4:


I’d suggest giving them a phone call rather than going in person, at least around here almost all non-emergency appointments have moved to phone or video.