We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

How do I Treat a Black Snake Bite?

By Sheri Cyprus
Updated Mar 03, 2024
Our promise to you
The Health Board is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At The Health Board, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Before treating a black snake bite, identification is important to determine whether the serpent is venomous or non-venomous. Depending on the country or region, black snake can refer to at least several different species. Venomous types include the Pseudechis genus native to Australia and the cottonmouth Agkistrodon piscivorus found in North America. Examples of non-venomous black snakes are the Natrix atra of Jamaica and the pipe snake of Thailand. If non-venomous, treating a black snake bite is important to prevent infection, while avoiding serious illness or death often requires emergency room care to receive the proper dose of antivenin, or antivenom, for venomous bites.

Hospitals will typically carry the antivenin for all of the types of venomous snakes in their area. A visit to a hospital emergency room is usually necessary so that the venomous black snake bite victim will be administered an adequate dosage of the antivenin for the best chance of recovery. Some species of venomous black snake, such as the red-bellied and blue-bellied varieties, may be treated with tiger snake antivenin. The antivenin is likely to be given by injection. While the victim is in the hospital, he or she will also be treated for any symptoms that may have resulted from the bite, such as low blood pressure or intense pain in some cases.

Emergency medical help should always be sought immediately in any case of a bite from a venomous black snake. If possible, the hospital should be contacted before the victim arrives so that the antivenin can be ready. If the victim must wait for professional medical attention, he or she should be kept calm and treated with first aid techniques. Staying still and keeping the bitten limb lower than heart level, if possible, are often considered as important first aid methods to help prevent the venom from spreading further in the body.

The venomous black snake bite should be cleansed with soap and water if possible. Common treatments for venomous black snake bites often include wrapping an elastic cloth bandage around the bitten limb. A splint may be added to keep the arm or leg from being able to be bent.

First aid for venomous snake bites is no substitute for a hospital emergency visit and the correct antivenin. The main treatment goal should always be to get this professional emergency help as soon as possible. Professional medical treatment of a bite from a nonvenomous black snake may also be necessary in some cases. Depending on the species, a black snake bite may be painful or become infected if not properly treated.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By turquoise — On Oct 09, 2013

My brother was hospitalized last week for a black snake bite. He was given antivenin and it worked but he also had a lot of pain and swelling. So they had to keep him for two days and they gave him pain relievers and and IV fluids.

By literally45 — On Oct 08, 2013

@feruze-- You did the right thing. How did you know to keep the person still? It's important to do this to limit the spread of the venom. Next time, if you can find a bandage or cloth, you can bandage a little above the snake bite. This will also keep the venom from spreading. But make sure not to bandage too tightly, you don't want to cut off blood circulation.

The most important part of first aid for a snake bite is to avoid doing things like sucking the venom out, cutting the bite to cause bleeding, applying ice to the bite, etc. It was once thought that these were ways to remove the venom from the body but they have been disproved. These methods actually make things worse. The most you should do is clean the bite with soapy water. Let doctors take care of the rest.

By bear78 — On Oct 08, 2013

My friend was bit by a black snake during summer camp. We were hiking and there were no adults nearby. I did my best to keep my friend calm while we called an adult for help. He was bitten in his hand and I made him sit down and keep still without moving his hand. Thankfully, they rushed him to a hospital where he was given treatment. He had to stay in the hospital for a day, but he is absolutely fine now.

Did I react correctly? If something like this were to happen again, should I do anything differently? I hope that I never have to be in this situation in the future but just in case.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.