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Man dies trying to Kill Snake WA

Author: Craig Adams
Date: Tuesday, December 09, 2014
This tragic story told below emphasises two very important facts of Australian snakebite.  

Firstly, it is obviously very dangerous attempt to kill snakes.

Secondly, and this fact is far less understood, one must never assume that the often trivial appearance and symptoms of snakebite a reliable indicator of its seriousness or lack thereof.  This is particularly true of brown snakes which, due to their relatively small fangs and specific venom properties bites often look insignificant and may be virtually pain free.  It is always best to assume nothing and treat all suspected snake bites as a medical emergency and apply immediate first aid. 

Article below is an extract from ABC digital web written by Rebecca Curtin, 14th October 2014: 

Man dies after snake bites him on hand, arm in WA's Goldfields

A man has died after being bitten by a snake in West Australia's remote Goldfields region.

Police said the 41-year-old man was bitten while trying to pick up what was believed to be a western brown snake.

The officer in charge, Senior Sergeant Heath Soutar, said the man was bitten multiple times including on his hand and arm.

Sergeant Soutar said the man did not seek any medical attention after being bitten.

"He didn't seek any medical attention despite other people being in the area and trying to assure him that he needed medical attention," he said.

"He ended up going to a campsite very close to town and ended up collapsing approximately half an hour to 45 minutes later."

Police and an ambulance crew went to the site where the man had collapsed and performed first aid.

He was taken to the Laverton hospital where he was later declared dead.

Hunter Valley Woman Dies of Brown Snake Bite

Author: Craig Adams
Date: Thursday, November 07, 2013

The article below appeared in The Australian November 06.  It attempts to highlight some of the factors that may hinder the early detection of brown snake bites.  Our deepest sympathy goes out to the victims family and friends.


A WOMAN who died yesterday after being bitten by a snake while gardening at the weekend might not have even known she had the deadly venom in her bloodstream, an expert has warned.

The 59-year-old woman was discovered by her husband in the backyard of the couple's Glen Oak property, northeast of Maitland, on Saturday afternoon. She was rushed to John Hunter Hospital in a critical condition and remained on life support for three days before passing away at 12.30am yesterday.

Tests have been conducted to determine the species of the snake but given the circumstances, the semi-rural location and the fatal result, experts believe it was almost certainly a brown snake. 

Reptile expert and director of Snake and Spider Safety Awareness for Employees Craig Adams said the Hunter Valley was a national "hot spot" for brown snakes.

He said their small fangs and blood-thinning venom meant it was "not uncommon" for victims to dismiss a bite as a stinging nettle or sharp twig only to collapse minutes later.

"The bites are very superficial in appearance, with very little pain around the site," he said.

"It's very easily overlooked, sometimes they don't see the snake and if you've got your hands buried in gardening you might not realise it was a snake at all.''

But what they lack in fangs, Mr Adams said, brown snakes - arguably the second deadliest in the world - make up for with powerful venom. "Symptoms come on very quickly,'' he said.

"Early collapse is a hallmark of brown snake bites … if people are unaware they've been bit it's common for people to have early collapse.''

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