A DEADLY eastern brown snake in the toilets at Wagga Beach. A red-belly black snake in a child’s bedroom at a house in San Isidore. A diamond python in the wardrobe at a house in The Esplanade.
Yesterday, snake catcher Tony “Snakeman” Davis said the warming road to summer was bringing him plenty of business, catching about four venomous snakes a day over the past fortnight.
“The warmer weather has them coming out, all around the region,” Mr Davis said.
“They’ve been mostly on the fringe of the city, on back porches, cracks of driveways, and in outer suburbs.”
Mr Davis and Murrumbidgee Local Health District critical care services nurse Anne Hawkins have warned of the dangers the warmer months bring, with a basic knowledge of first-aid neccessary for those enjoying the great outdoors.
“I always say don’t wipe the venom off,” Mr Davis, who has been bitten by a Brown Snake three times, and most recently a Taipan.
“Apply a bandage if one is available and don’t move; a brown snake only has three millimetre fangs, so if you move quickly the venom will travel to your lymph nodes faster.”
Ms Hawkins said most bite presentations were a result of people trying to catch or kill snakes, which she warned against, while Mr Davis said a lot of times bushwalkers don’t always know they’ve been bitten.
“The bite often looks like a prick from a thorn bush,” Mr Davis said.
“If isn’t until the walker’s vision starts getting blurry and he or she starts becoming disoriented that they realise, which is often 20 minutes later.”
First Aid steps
- Never interfere with the bite by either cutting or attempting to suck the venom out.
- Don’t wash or clean venom from the skin.
- Bandage over clothing.
- Place firm bandage to the limb commencing at the snake bite, then going down to the fingers or toes then up to the limb to the hip or shoulder.
- The bandage (or whatever material is available) should be as tight as you would apply for a sprained ankle.
- Mark the location of the bite (if known)
- Immobilise the limb with a splint; if the bite is to the leg splint the legs together; if to the arm, splint the arm to the trunk of the body.
- Keep the limb still, keep the patient still.
- Never allow patient to walk or run.
- Under no circumstances should the bandage be removed until the patient has reached the hospital.
- Call 000 once first aid has been applied.