Poisonous creatures such as snakes tend to look for open premises like schools and playgrounds to shade them from the sun during the current hot weather.

A senior lecturer of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM), Dr Tengku Rinalfi Putra Tengku Azizan said any area which is not occupied by humans within a period of 24 hours will offer snakes a place for protection and to look for food.

"Schools, for example, are mostly occupied by students for half a day from morning till afternoon while at night, they are unoccupied.

"This will raise the possibility of snakes entering the school compound such as the canteen from becoming a good location for protection from the sun besides offering a good source of food such as rats and frogs," he told Bernama here.

He said this when asked to comment on the incident where a Year One female pupil of SK Dato' Hashim 1, Pengkalan Chepa, Kelantan died after she was believed to have been bitten by a venomous snake at the school premises on April 19.

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Dr Tengku Rinalfi said schools should collaborate with the relevant agencies such as the Fire and Rescue Department and the Malaysian Civil Defence Department (JPAM) to organise briefings to students on preliminary measures that should be taken when dealing with snakes.

"The school and local authorities should also conduct periodical inspections on the school field and playground which are believed to be the habitat for venomous creatures," he said.

Meanwhile, a lecturer and consultant from the Department of Emergency Medicine, Faculty of Medicine of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Dr Ahmad Khaldun Ismail outlined several immediate measures for victims of snake bites.

"The first step is that the victim who is in a state of shock after being bitten, should be appeased and placed in a comfortable position as well as to avoid any physical movement.

"Subsequently, support the area that was bitten with a clean fabric and to loosen the victim's attire before taking him or her to the nearest emergency treatment centre," he said.

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Throughout the month of March since the hot weather occurred following the El Nino phenomenon, a total of 3,780 snakes had been caught in public and residential areas throughout the country.

According to JPAM, out of the total, Selangor recorded the most number of cases at 459, followed by Perak (431 cases), Terengganu (430) and the Federal Territories (427).

On April 19, SK Dato' Hashim 1, Pengkalan Chepa pupil Nuriey Nadhirah Roslan, 7, died after she was believed to have been bitten by a snake in a garden beside her classroom.

The victim was confirmed to have died while seeking treatment at the Pengkalan Chepa Health Clinic and an autopsy revealed that the cause of death was the lack of oxygen in the body due to a bite by a poisonous creature.

READ: El Nino: Snakes feeling the heat