Why do you want to hit seven inches when you hit a snake?

When a snake slithers towards you, it can be quite alarming, prompting you to quickly grab a bamboo pole and strike at the snake.

When striking a snake, the aim is to hit a vital spot. There’s a saying that goes, “Hit the snake’s seven inches,” while others say “Hit the snake’s three inches.” Despite the variations, they share a common point — targeting the snake’s spinal cord.

When an animal’s spinal cord is broken, it disrupts the vital channel that communicates with the central nervous system and other parts of the body. Striking a snake’s tail would have no effect because it can regenerate its tail. For instance, geckos, also reptiles, can shed their tails when caught, allowing them to escape while their tails continue to move.

You might wonder why there are references to “three inches” and “seven inches.” The “three inches” refers to the most vulnerable part of a snake’s spine. If broken here, the snake cannot lift its head to bite you. The “seven inches” refers to the location of its heart, similarly crucial as an engine to a machine. A fatal injury to this area would result in instant death. However, these measurements can vary depending on the snake’s species and size.

It’s become somewhat of a habit for people to strike at snakes on sight.

There are indeed many venomous snakes, such as the pit viper, python, cobra, and bamboo pit viper, whose bites can be fatal. However, some snakes like the sunbeam snake, oriental ratsnake, black-banded sea krait, and brown-banded water snake are harmless and even help control rodent populations, benefiting humans.

Differentiating between venomous and non-venomous snakes cannot be based solely on their appearance. The brightly colored sunbeam snake, often mistaken for being venomous, is actually harmless. If bitten by one, simply disinfect the wound with some red medicine. On the other hand, the gray-brown and black-spotted pit viper, known as the “earth public snake” among Shanghai farmers, is highly venomous. If bitten by a pit viper, the wound should be tightly bound with a cloth above it to prevent venom from reaching the heart through the bloodstream. Then, the wound should be opened to drain the blood to remove the venom. If possible, wash the wound with a solution of potassium permanganate and seek medical attention promptly.