Correlation between annual activity patterns of venomous snakes and rural people in the Niger Delta, southern Nigeria.

Research paper by Godfrey C GC Akani, Nwabueze N Ebere, Daniel D Franco, Edem A EA Eniang, Fabio F Petrozzi, Edoardo E Politano, Luca L Luiselli

Indexed on: 16 Jul '13Published on: 16 Jul '13Published in: Journal of Venomous Animals and Toxins including Tropical Diseases


Venomous snakes are among the most serious health hazards for rural people in tropical regions of the world. Herein we compare the monthly activity patterns of eight venomous snake species (Elapidae and Viperidae) with those of rural people in the Niger Delta area of southern Nigeria, in order to identify the periods of highest potential risk for persons, and the human group actually at greater risk of snakebite.We documented that above-ground activity of all venomous snakes peaked in the wet season, and that high snake activity and high human activity were most highly correlated between April and August. In addition, we documented that women and teenagers were at relatively higher risk of encountering a venomous snake than adult males, despite they are less often in the field than men.Our results suggest that future programs devoted to mitigate the social and health effects of snakebites in the Niger Delta region should involve especially women and teenagers, with ad-hoc education projects if appropriate. We urge that international organizations working on social and health problems in the developing world, such as IRD, DFID, UNDP, should provide advice through specific programs targeted at especially these categories which have been highlighted in comparatively potential higher threat from snakebites than adult men.