Confirmed cases
Updated on June 2, 2020 12:26 pm
Updated on June 2, 2020 12:26 pm
Updated on June 2, 2020 12:26 pm

Tour Operator ‘Joe Knows’ Fighting For His Life After Snake Bite

Saint Lucia Tour Operator Joe Knows  says he is fighting for his life after a snake bit him.

The internationally known tourism figure spoke Sunday afternoon to St Lucia Times via telephone from his bed at Victoria Hospital.

He praised medical staff for doing an excellent job under dire conditions including a lack of resources.

He said the snake bite occurred on Thursday of last week.

Joe, whose real name is Josiah Castang, recalled that he and a friend took a trip to a waterfall in the fishing village of Anse La Raye.

He told St Lucia Times that they got there about 4.00 pm.

The snake bite victim stated that after 5.00 pm as darkness was falling he told his friend ‘Shiloh’ that they should be heading back.

He explained that he knows the waterfall very well and was aware of the danger of snakes but had never encountered one.

“While making my exit across the river, one of the deadliest serpents was coiled by a rock. I did not see it, so while walking I stepped right on it,” the Tour Operator disclosed.

He said the fer de lance reacted by biting him on the foot.

“It stayed there – wiggled and wiggled and wiggled until it released all its poison inside me,” he stated.

Castang told St Lucia Times that afterwards the serpent darted into the bushes.

He said he called out to his buddy, telling him that he had been bitten by a snake.

“Instantly the venom started to work – I felt a burning,” he remembered, adding that his friend carried him to their vehicle and drove to the police station, where officers put him aboard a police van and drove him to Tapion Hospital.

“But Tapion does not have anti-venom,” he stated.

“All the time, about an hour later, the venom is travelling up my feet – my shin area started to swell. By the time I got to Victoria where they have the anti-venom, they put me in casualty and gave me drips and anti-venom and left me there for a while,” he said.

The businessman said a medical official explained to him that he had a 50-50 chance of losing his leg.

He recalled the official saying that the leg might have to be amputated because the situation was so bad.

Nevertheless, Castang said after consultation with other doctors it was decided to to cut open both sides of the leg to allow the blood to flow and the muscles to ‘breathe’.

He said the doctors then performed an operation.

“I am at Victoria (Hospital) still,” he said.

“I am fighting for my life,” he declared.

Castang revealed that his leg is in ‘tremendous pain’ with two deep wounds on both sides of his shin.

He expressed the view that the fer de lance is the worst type of snake in the world.

“It’s a true story bro, these serpents are running wild in the forest because nobody is taking care of them. They’re just breeding. People are killing them all over the place. We are infested with these yellow serpents in the forest area,” he declared.

He described Anse La Raye as being one of the most dangerous places for the creature.

“If I – as a tour operator can get bitten by a serpent and I am here fighting for my life, could you imagine what could happen to somebody else?”

He said the swelling in his leg has reached almost to the area of his waist.

“It’s serious,” the 45 year old who has been in the tour operator business since 1996, stated.

His business, Joe Knows Tours, has received rave reviews on TripAdvisor.

Castang said people were calling him from all over the world after hearing about his predicament.

Earlier this year the Forestry Department had expressed concern about reports of fer de lance sightings in Millet.

A department spokesman said at the time that although the snake is not on the protected list, people are being encouraged not to kill it if it does not posse a threat.

“The fer de lance has potential for value added because of the fact that we are beginning to understand that its venom is very important for curing heart ailments. So why would we want to kill a reptile that has benefits in terms of curing heart ailments?” A Forestry Official said.




  1. While it’s venom can cure heart illness and we can’t get that venom to do so we should just allow it to multiply and kill people. Its like saying drugs bring money so don’t stop it while it destroys so many young men and make them unproductive a.d even lose their health sanity and life.

  2. Not to kill it if it doesn’t pose a treat? And just who is to determine what is a threat or when one feels threatened? Majii you talking mun?.. since I see it I’m already threatened and it poses a threat even when I don’t see it (Joe Knows know, he’s living proof) so….

  3. Tour operators who conduct tours in fer de lance habitats should consult the Forestry Division for safety training and advise. This incident could have very well been avoided if the guys were more vigilant, use a bright torch light since it was getting dark and use safety gear such as proper hiking boots and snake gaiters or leggings. Being vigilant is indeed the first line of defense against snake bites. Also, more should be done to sensitize the public on the topic of snake bites. If police and Joe knew better, they would not have wasted previous Time going to Tapion Hospital.

  4. We are not the only ones with snakes. They can get everywhere. Even if u kill them there are thousands and thousands of snakes. Remember there were released at certain points during the time of slavery. Now they are everywhere. Mangoose are not helping. That thing didn’t just bite but released all its dam poison. We need bloody antivenom everywhere on island. Why not. Dam

    • No you are wrong. Our snake is endemic to Saint Lucia and has been here for thousands of years. It was not brought here during slavery.

  5. Shouldn’t all of the hospitals on island have access to anti venom, especially since the fer de lance is a known inhabitant? If it is not practical to stock anti venom at all hospital locations then minimally all safety personnel should be informed of where to bring snake bite victims for treatment.

    • There was an ad with Dr Didier on what to do when a snake bite you and that the anti venom is available at VH. It appears most people don’t watch local news nowadays

    • He will be ok survival wise….its the muscles n flesh of his foot that needs to be monitored for now. If he was literally fighting for his life he wouldn’t be speaking to the news on phone. He should be ok

  6. I remember an ad in which Dr. Didier was saying if a snake bit u call VH to tell them you’re on your way and that’s the only hospital that has the anti-venom. But nobody watches tv anymore……

  7. SMHH. Reading the article and comments WOW. My 9 yr old son and I were suppose to hv gone to that waterfall, because he wants to see a snake, live not just on youtube. He loves watching about them. But low and behold my grandmother died and we didn’t end up going over the summer. We started visiting waterfalls and next was Anse La Raye. I will have him read this article ASAP. I EH GOING DERE. Also Y did he asked to be rushed to Tapion? He thought Tapion was the best. Sad Joe Knows didn’t know that. VH The best hospital in Lucia. Thank God for them atleast Joe knows will live and is swollen all over.

  8. Just an idea, The forestry officials should Capture these snakes and house them is a designated facility to extract the venom for its good uses.

  9. What a poorly written story. No, Joe is not going to die although be may lose his leg. Joe was reckless based on everything that was said in that interview but the interview is lacking in details from Joe. Was he starting slippers to be bitten on his foot? I’d he knew he was in shake infested area me should have had on boots. Just because you never encounter a snake before clearly didn’t mean there were none in a known infested are. Based on this story it seems Joe Doesn’t Know.

    • Who wears boots to a waterfall? The only realistic precautions that should have been implemented here are signs on the trail to the waterfall to be wary of fer-de-lances.

  10. What was Joe knows doing down there at about 6pm that is the question. What does Joe know that he is not telling his wife? The wife and others know Joe. Shiloh was actually not the so called companion that Joe knows we know. She could not ride the bike that’s why Joe called Shiloh to come get him. Anyway Joe knows that I know what he knows.

    • It is recommended that the antivenom should only be administered at hospitals with Intensive Care Units (ICUs) since certain persons are allergic to antivenom. An acute allergic reaction to antivenom requires immediate medical intervention to save the patient’s life and in such an instance the antivenom is a greater threat to life than the snake’s venom.

  11. Tapion hospital shame on you guys,you all claim to be the best hospital on the island,charging people from the time they step on the hospital front door mat,and yall dont have anti venom.the way yall expensive even platinum and diamond should be available if it’s going to save someone’s life.choopse.thank you good old vh,at least you were useful for something.

  12. Thank God i know the best remidy for snacks. The best prayers for snacks and the best cure for snacks is… DON’T GO WHERE IT IS.. atell U

  13. The sarcasm behind what Joe does or doesn’t know was funny at first but we seen to seem to have forgotten the seriousness of the story. It could have been worse. It could have been u or ur relatives. Let’s not lose site of the bigger story here. The greater the population of snakes the greater the risk for the residents/children. Plus we offer many diverse tourism products that venture into these areas. We shud ensure that the anti-venom is available closer to these areas & people are sensitized to the dangers as well as where the anti-venom is available.
    But back to the sarcasm…Joe Knows “Tours” I doubt he’s ever claimed to know everything.

  14. I think there is a take away from all incidents. Firstly distribution of antivenom. Get to vh is not acceptable at all. Strategic distribution is critical. Secondly education. We can’t be driven by fear into “controlling” an endemic species. It is well documented that our own habits like poor waste management invite rodents and these rodents invite snakes. We can potentially invite snakes into our back yard. Thirdly remember the ecosystem is delicately balanced. Remove the predator and the prey multiplies. For example hunting and chasing the mongoose.

    All the best Joe. Looking forward to seeing you on rides again

  15. That’s Really Crap the Tapion 5Star Hospital.has no Anti Venom .All Heaith Centers Should be equipped with Anti Venom

  16. As a popular tour operator “Joe DID not KNOW” that VH is the only medical facility for venom treatment? Anyways hope all works out for the better. In any case, never underestimate the capability or quality of some services being offered at VH.

  17. My buddy i think you should make some calls and seek medical assistance else where ( Overs) with that cut leg thing VH telling you there.

  18. I am so sorry this happened to you Joe, the most important thing you are alive and hopefully you will get better slowly but surely with the
    Lord by your side.
    So the ppl who are concern about what he was doing there it’s not you’ll business we should be happy he is alive .

  19. All I could say is Bro I hope you pull thru and keep the strength not even Tapion could help you now we know why the political jackasses flee overseas for treatment. Lucians be very careful when you venture to these hidden gem it can be very dangerous. Over grown bushes dangerous trails and as you can see snakes. The more famous ones like the hot springs by jalousie is no different. I went there two weeks ago with my children who came down to check the old man we did the Sulphur springs and the hot spring by jalousie what an embarrassment the experience was. First the way they treat locals by Sulphur springs is an embarrassment on it’s own the hot spring by Jalousie was shameful to say the least. The place run down and the tubs are a disgrace a fellow and his jabal was getting it on in the hot tub going thru the bush to get to the falls this sort of thing did cross my mind but for them I went along but I don’t think I will visit either site again. St Lucia lacking good attractions.

  20. Poor Joe knows. Wishing u a speedy recovery which hopefully does not include amputation of your leg. We can all learn from your experience. Sorry this happened to u buddy

  21. What happened Joe you panicked? you steped on the poor animal,and you saying she hung on to your leg and let all her venom into you? normally its never like that,sorry.VH is the only one that has the anti venom,and all of us that,go stomping in the snakes back yard know that .Snake can only bite six times in a period of six minutes ,after that she runs out of venom.You have up to two hours to get yourself to VH,and save your life.This is for a healthy person,but not all are healthy so step on the gas.From Millet you can make it to VH,in 50 minutes,course if you have been bitten you are not going to drive.Dont go out to places you are not familiar with,and much less when it gets dark,Get well budy

  22. Wishing Joe a speedy and full recovery. On a side note. Anyone caught killing or harming one of these snakes faces fines and jail time. How much jail time and fines is this snake going to pay?

  23. Get better soon big man….vh is the only hospital on island with that anti venom And if you didn’t know now you know.

  24. Yes, auntiveinum should be more accessible. Tour guides themselves should be smart in carrying auntiveinum while giving tours. How would such look if it was a tourist that got beaten.? Only 1 tourist bite and death from implementing some senseable policies. When I visite home/st. Lucia I carry along a full medical fist aid kit/bag, more equip than a typical medic bag. Tour guides should be carrying a medical kit with auntiveinum, should mandatory to work in such field. Let us pass this policy as of today .

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