Man camping in NT dies after being bitten by snake

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Western Brown snake
A Western Brown Snake can be deadly. PIC: Andy/Flickr

A 68-year-old from Adelaide has died after being bitten by a venomous snake while camping in the Northern Territory.

The man, who was travelling with a friend, was attacked by a western brown snake in Garig Gunak Barlu National Park in the Coburg Peninsula.

A spokesperson for the Northern Territory’s Parks and Wildlife said the man had gone to the park’s ranger station to find help after receiving the bite.

“The man presented to the Ranger Station and treatment immediately commenced in consultation with the District Medical Officer and CareFlight,” the spokesperson said. “Sadly the man lost consciousness and later died.”

Western brown snakes have been known to be aggressive and are the ninth most lethal snake on the planet.

Matthew Lamb, a snake expert from the Territory Wildlife Park, told 9News that Western Browns are often well camouflaged.

“They’re normally not a very large snake, and they’re very fast-moving,” he said. “All it takes unfortunately is for someone to step on them, and that’s just a natural reaction for them to bite.”

Mr Lamb said it’s important to carry a first aid kit when out in the bush.

“Pressure bandages are your best bet to try to slow the venom movement down,” he said. “But first of all, you should contact your ambulance services and get medical attention straight away.”

The Royal Flying Doctor Service said there are about 3,000 snakebites in Australia each year, with recent figures showing about 550 hospitalisations and an average of two deaths per annum.

Brown snakes are responsible for 41% of bites, tiger snakes 17%, and red-bellied back snakes 16%.

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One Response to Man camping in NT dies after being bitten by snake

  1. If bitten, apply pressure bandage, immobilise patient, and call for ambulance. Movement of the patient will speed up the spread of the venom

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