Pet Dog Saves Child From Venomous, 6-Foot Snake, Gets Bitten Repeatedly

A pet dog has been bitten "at least" four times by a venomous snake in São Paulo, Brazil, while trying to protect a 12-year-old child from the animal.

The attack, which took place in the Guaratuba neighborhood of Bertioga on the morning of Friday, November 27, has left Typhoon hospitalized, but the seven-year-old family dog is said to be making a recovery.

According to local media, a jararaca snake that was said to be approximately six feet long was behind the attack.

Andressa da Silva dos Santos, 24, said that the snake might have attacked her 12-year-old sister if it wasn't for Typhoon.

She told the Brazilian news website G1 that the girls' mother sent her little sister to a neighboring residence to open the gate, as requested by the property's owner, and that she was confronted by the jararaca on her way back to the family.

"When she was coming back, she saw the jararaca approaching and screamed," da Silva said, adding that her sister was frozen by fear until Typhoon arrived on the scene.

"My mother has four dogs and they all followed, but only Typhoon faced the snake. I think that in his desperation to attack the jararaca, he was bitten a few times."

The snake then crawled away and the family took Typhoon to a veterinary clinic. "The doctor even said that if he were my sister, he wouldn't have survived, because, according to him, the dog has much more resistance to the poison," da Silva said.

The family has been trying to raise funds for Typhoon's treatment, and hope he will be able to make a full recovery and return home soon. "He saved my sister, he is a true hero," da Silva added.

Bothrops jararaca is a common snake in Brazil, though it usually hunts at night, feeding predominantly on rodents and other small mammals.

The ambush predator uses camouflage and caudal luring to attract unsuspecting prey, waving the pale tip of its tail to imitate a worm or insect larva.

"Bothrops species account for the most human deaths in the New World, and Brazilian pit vipers pose a significant risk to humans," the University of Michigan's Animal Diversity database says.

"Encounter rates are high because the species is abundant within its geographical range and its preferred habitats include agricultural fields. The toxins present in their venom cause swelling at the envenomation site, necrosis, blistering, hemorrhagic blebs, systemic bleeding into the skin, gums, and nose, and subconjunctival hemorrhage.

"Collectively, these effects can lead to death due to shock, renal failure, and intrancranial hemorrhage, compounded by severe hypotension."

venomous bothrops jararaca snake
Bothrops jararaca is a common snake in Brazil, which usually feeds on rodents and other small mammals, and uses caudal luring to attract prey. iStock