First aid if
bitten by a venomous snake:
Do not wash the wound site.
Do not cut the wound.
Place an elastic bandage over the wound site and bandage as
far down the limb as possible, then back up the limb as far
Keep the patient as quiet as possible. This can be hard, but
remember stress and fear will be the most visible signs in
most cases of snake bite and should be treated accordingly.
Call an ambulance and get to a hospital immediately.
Do not ask the patient to walk to a vehicle for transport,
bring the vehicle to the patient, the less movement on the
part of the patient, the better.
Identification of the snake is not necessary, so do not attempt
to capture or kill the snake to take to the hospital, most
hospital staff cannot positively identify a snake.
The Commonwealth Serum Laboratories have produced a snakebite
detection kit, which has been issued to all major hospitals
through out Australia. This kit enables the hospital staff
to safely take a swab from the wound site and after testing
they are able to tell which anti-venom is the correct one
to use. If the test is inconclusive, then a polyvalent serum
may be administered.
I feel very sorry for our venomous snakes, most of us are
frightened of them, and in many cases the snake suffer due
to our fear. They are not interested in attacking us; they
will usually try as hard as they can to get away.
If you find a snake inside, if possible leave it an avenue
of escape, close the room of if you can, and leave doors and
windows open so the snake can leave when it no longer feels
When walking outside at night or in the bush wear suitable
Gow’s complete guide to Australian Snakes.
WIRES Rescue and Immediate Care manual.
Spring brings out our reptile friends,
after having spent the winter months in semi hibernation;
they are now out and about looking for a good feed. Snakes,
in particular, are very active, so be aware when walking through
the bush that even though you may not see them, they are all
around us and considering how rarely we actually see a snake,
they are pretty good at keeping out of our way. They have
no benefit in biting us, except in defence as they cannot
eat us, so using up precious venom is not in their best interest.
They will only strike if they feel threatened; leaving them
alone is the best option for not only the snake, but us as
We receive many calls to relocate snakes
from a multitude of situations, usually due to a fear of them,
not just because they actually pose any immediate threat.
Why are we so frightened of snakes, does it relate back to
the Garden of Eden, or is it the misconception that they will
attack and bite if we get anywhere near them, I don’t
really know. But what you may like to consider is that the
snake that lives around or near your premises, be it in the
paddock or garage, knows you, as it has lived within its territory
since it was born and in some cases that can be up to 50-60
years, most snakes have a very long life. It knows when you
hang out the washing, it knows when you go to sleep and the
coast is clear, it knows to stay out of your way. The one
time you spot it sunning itself, or hunting for food, it will
be as surprised as you, but will not strike as long as you
leave it alone, and give it a chance to get away from you.
You have simply noticed it for the first time, whereas it
may have seen you thousands of times before.
If a resident snake is taken away from
your property, it is only a matter time before another snake
decides to move into its territory; the problem now is that
the new arrival does NOT know your movements, so when you
place your foot blindly down next to its head or hands into
shrubbery, it feels threatened and reacts accordingly.
The simple fact is that we live in
snake territory, and can live harmoniously, as long as we
understand and give the native animals the respect and space
they deserve. If you find a snake inside, leave it an avenue
of escape if possible, close the room off if you can, leaving
doors and windows open, to allow the snake to makes it exit
when it no longer feels threatened.
Most people are bitten by snakes when
trying to kill them, or wandering about outside at night in
bare feet, what for, well I leave that to your imagination.
Wear suitable footwear even if just ducking out for a short
stroll, as snakes do not have ears but sense vibrations through
the ground, and being the hunter/gatherer type that we are,
our bare feet are designed for silent and non vibration movement.
We would like to remind everyone how
do deal with a snakebite, just in case, and would like to
emphasise the importance of ensuring your children are also
aware of what to do.