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Girl dies from brown snake bite in Walgett, NSW



Craig Adams - Monday, February 15, 2016

The article below appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald on February 15th, 2016. Our deepest sympathy goes out to the victims family and friends.

Author: RACHEL OLDING


A six-year-old girl has died after being bitten by a brown snake in Far North NSW, prompting emergency services to issue a state-wide warning.

The girl was bitten on a property near Walgett about 3pm on Friday.

She was taken to Walgett Hospital, where doctors administered anti-venom, then flown to the Sydney Children's Hospital in Randwick where she was placed on life support.

After her condition deteriorated significantly, she was transferred back to Walgett Hospital where she died on Saturday.

NSW Ambulance and NSW Police have issued a reminder to people to be wary of snakes in warmer months.

Tips from NSW Ambulance include:

  • If you are bitten by a snake, ensure someone calls triple zero immediately.
  • Until help arrives, if the bite is on a limb, apply a pressure immobilisation bandage but not so tight that it will cut off circulation.
  • If the bite is not on a limb, apply direct and firm pressure to the bite site with your hands (it is also important the patient is kept still).
  • Check items of clothing that have been left outside before wearing them and if you lift something such as a rock or log, lift the object so it's facing away from you.

Numbers of eastern brown snakes have proliferated over the years due to large-scale land clearing, which provides a ready supply of rodents for the snakes to feed on, the Australian Museum says.

They are most commonly found in scrublands, rural areas that have been heavily modified for agriculture and on the suburban outskirts of large towns and cities across eastern Australia.

The brown snake causes more deaths from snake bite than any other species of snake in Australia.

Many bites are caused by people trying to kill the snakes or move them, causing the snake to react viciously.

They typically have small fangs but extremely potent venom that can cause progressive paralysis and uncontrollable bleeding that can spread to the brain.

The initial bite is generally painless and often difficult to detect, the Australian Museum says.


About the Author - Craig Adams

Craig is a venomous snake expert and former Operations Manager for the Australian Reptile Park. With his wife Jackie, Craig has travelled to remote areas of Australia in search of venomous snakes and spiders for inclusion in the Reptile Park's venom collection program for scientific purposes and for the collection of new data on endangered species. Craig has featured in numerous National Geographic and Discovery Channel programs on the world's most venomous creatures. He worked alongside Steve Irwin as a consultant on his film "Oceans' Deadliest" and continues to work periodically with Steve's best friend John Stainton in an advisory and "to camera" role. Together with Jackie, he has also starred in numerous other television, print media and documentary films and is acknowledged by his peers as the "go to" person in this field.


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