A woman who claimed she was bitten by a cobra has spoken about the frightening experience and how she managed to escape.
Zechariah Olam was in the middle of a drive with her husband and two children on the southern tip of Israel when she began to feel the bite.
“I got up and went outside.
I went to the back of the car to get my phone and saw it was biting my hand.
It was a very big snake,” she told Al Jazeera.
The woman had been driving with her two sons and daughter, but was not wearing her seat belt when she was attacked by the snake.
“They were standing right next to me, just in front of me.
And I saw the snake, and I said, ‘Please don’t bite me.'”
The snake bit her hand, and she was taken to the hospital, where doctors tried to save her life.
Her husband, who was driving with his two young sons, tried to grab her and tried to hold her by the arm, but the cobra managed to bite her and drag her across the road, the woman said.
“And I tried to say, ‘Help me, help me, but they are too big.
They are too strong.’
And I thought, ‘They are too scared.'”
She tried to take her children out of the vehicle to try and save her, but she was too frightened to do so, and they were taken to a nearby hospital.
“The doctors took me to the emergency room.
I was lying on the bed in the hospital.
They put a sheet over my head and put a pillow on my face,” she said.
Olam was released the following day, and doctors performed a series of tests to find out exactly what had happened.
Olim underwent emergency surgery for what she called a “massive” wound, which she described as “the worst thing that I’ve ever been through”.
“The doctor told me to do what I have to do to save my life, and then he said that the snake is not dangerous,” she recalled.
The couple was also bitten by two more snakes while driving on a similar road.
“When I went back to the hotel, they put a tourniquet on my hand and put some gauze on my finger, and that was the last time I had a scratch,” she added.
She was released two weeks later.
Olam said the venom was not the most dangerous snake in the world, and it did not affect her.
“But it’s very painful, and the first thing that comes to mind is the pain when I get bitten,” she explained.
“Because it’s so big, it could cut your fingers, and if you’re bitten in the hand, it can tear your skin, and my skin is really tough, and you can’t use your hand for anything, so it’s not very good for anything.”
“It’s like the same pain I was getting from my finger.”
Her experience is not unique.
While many people think of snakes as dangerous because of their size, experts say that the majority of venomous snakes are harmless.
“Snake bites are caused by a combination of factors including temperature, humidity, lack of food, and environmental factors,” said Dr Zvi Rechman, a venom expert at the Israel Poison Center.
“A lot of people are scared of snakes because they think they are scary, but if they are bitten by one, they don’t even realise it’s poisonous.”
Dr Rechmen, who also works for the Israeli Poison Center, said that most people, when bitten by snakes, have not been injured.
“It is a very common occurrence that snakes will bite and cause a scratch, and in the case of the woman, the bite was superficial, but it was also caused by the venom,” he told Aljazeera.
“There is no doubt that snake bites are extremely painful.
It could be the biggest scratch on the person’s body, but not only that, it will also cause a deep scratch.
That’s the biggest part.”
He added that people who are bitten should immediately seek medical attention, as snake bites can be fatal.
“Even if it was a minor scratch, it’s still an emergency, and there’s nothing we can do,” he said.”[People] should not panic and not let themselves get scared.
The only thing we can really do is call the police.”‘
We can’t save ourselves’Despite her injuries, Olam has said that she does not fear snakes any more.
“Sometimes I think about how scary it would be if a snake got into my car,” she recounted.
“If I get a bite, I can’t take it, because I am not afraid of snakes anymore.
I have nothing left, but I’m not afraid.””
They are not the scary things that you think they can be.
They just are the things that are not scary.”