A LARGE number of deadly snakes on the loose is common during March and April since the reptiles are looking to mate.
This according to snake expert Mike Perry, who was commenting after three people were bitten by green and black mambas in March alone in KwaZulu-Natal.
The latest victim, Thomas Mncube, 38, who was bitten on his left leg by a green mamba, is in a critical condition at a hospital in Stanger.
He was bitten when he entered a freight shipping container at Shakaskraal, in which the reptile was hiding.
The incident comes days after a Russian tourist, who was jogging at Umdloti on the North Coast earlier this month, was bitten twice on the leg, also by a green mamba.
Netcare 911 paramedics attended to the woman's injuries before she was airlifted to a local hospital.
Netcare 911 spokeperson Jeff Wicks said the snake struck shortly after being run over by a car.
Seven days after that attack, a farmworker was bitten by a black mamba in Richmond near Pietermaritzburg.
Wicks said the farmworker was saved from serious injury by his overalls, which the snake's fangs failed to penetrate.
It is believed that he had inadvertently driven over the snake with his tractor.
According to medical doctor Anchen Laubscher, it is critical for doctors to treat any snakebite victim as soon as possible, especially with a snake as toxic as a mamba.
He added that it was of critical importance that the victim be treated with the correct anti-snakebite serum.
Usually doctors can gain an idea of what kind of snake it is from the symptoms, but in some cases the snake is also positively identified on the scene.
The following are some things you can do in the event someone has been bitten by a snake:
l Keep the victim calm and quiet. Panic can help circulate the venom through the body more quickly.
l Avoid administering any pain-killing or other medication unless on the direction of a qualified medical practitioner.
l Do not allow the victim to eat or drink anything and especially not alcohol.
l Do not administer snakebite serum unless instructed to do so by a qualified medical practitioner.