News / South Africa / Local News

Salette Cloete
2 minute read
23 Jan 2019
3:43 pm

Night adder bites toddler in living room

Salette Cloete

Three-year-old Iris is recovering well at home and was left with very little scarring.

Camille Haupt and her daughter, Iris.

A parents’ worst nightmare is that something bad could happen to their child, and they feel even worse if it happens in the safe environment of the home. This nightmare became reality for Camille Haupt from George when her three-year-old daughter, Iris, was bitten by a snake in the family’s living room, reports George Herald.

“One of my worst fears as a mother was realised on Friday 11 January,” she says. “My friendly little angel, who dances around and helps me at work, was bitten by a night adder. She was really brave throughout this whole ordeal.”

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They live in an area where snakes are not uncommon and they have had a night adder in their house before.

“It preys on frogs and that day a frog came hopping into the house, with the snake probably following, looking for food. We still don’t know exactly what happened, but she was playing in the living room and must have stepped on it or brushed past it and was bitten.”

Haupt said it all happened in a flash. Her husband acted quickly, even though he was in shock, and called the snake-catchers. The ambulance arrived very quickly. In the meantime, they were on the phone with snake-catcher Christo Theron, who advised them what to do and helped them stay calm.

Theron also called the ambulance and the hospital so that they would be prepared for Iris’s arrival.

Another snake catcher, Nick Kolberg, who works with the reptile park, identified the snake which had been killed and it was taken along to the hospital. Kolberg said anti-venom wasn’t needed for a night adder bite, and Iris was treated symptomatically, to relieve her pain and prevent dehydration.

For the first twenty-four hours, Iris vomited twice an hour and was very ill, her mom recounts. “Her leg was swollen and she was in terrible pain. But luckily, after five horrible nights in the hospital, she was released and was left only with some scarring to her leg.”

She has little to no scarring left.

Little Iris’s entire leg was swollen, from her foot to her thigh. She is currently recovering at home but cannot walk yet. Haupt says her daughter is already crawling around and playing with her toys, being her busy, happy self.

Iris is feeling much better and is home recovering.

Haupt said she thought she and her husband Wolfgang were more traumatised than Iris, and the event left them with anxiety. They explained to Iris what had happened and also taught her the dangers of encountering a snake. After all she’d been through, Iris’s comment was: “I’m just happy the frog got away.”

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