A man has died and two others were reported to be in stable condition yesterday after being bitten by venomous snakes in three separate incidents on the same day in Queensland.
Snake experts have warned Queenslanders and visitors to the state to treat all snakes as venomous.
A 62-year-old grandfather, bitten on the hand by an unidentified snake in the backyard of his house near Townsville on Sunday morning, went into cardiac arrest and died within an hour of the bite, despite his wife and granddaughter performing first aid and calling emergency services.
Paramedics said the snake was most likely a brown snake or a taipan. The former is lethal and the latter is the most venomous snake species in the world.
In separate incidents on the same day, a 46-year-old man was bitten by a snake at Junction View, about an hour south-east of Toowoomba, and a 46-year-old Cairns woman was bitten on the leg by a brown snake when she stepped into her car at Edmonton in Far North Queensland. The snake was hiding in the car.
Townsville snake handler Trish Prendergast told ABC News many snakes were on the move at this time of year, breeding season.
Australia’s inland taipan, Oxyuranus microlepidotus, is the world’s most venomous snake. The inland taipan is also called the “fierce snake” but was better known to settlers as the “two-step snake”.
“If it bites you, you take two steps and you’re dead,” a snake expert explained.
Australian Reptile Park, however, reports that Australia’s eastern brown snake is the species responsible for most snakebite deaths in the country, “although, with the advent of efficient first-aid treatment and antivenom, there are now usually only one or two deaths per year”.
Just a few weeks ago, another variety of snake was revealed as a unique species. The charmingly named Kimberley death adder, Acanthophis cryptamydros, lives in Western Australia.
Written by Peter Needham