Snakebite death prompts warning to bush travellers

Published: October 27, 2015
Brown snake warning

The death of a 62-year-old grandfather after he was bitten by a snake near Townsville is a terrible reminder to grey nomads and all who venture into remote areas to be vigilant … especially at this time of the year.

The man went into cardiac arrest shortly after he was bitten on the hand – probably by a brown snake or a taipan – at Toolakea Beach. He was unable to be revived.

Townsville snake handler Trish Prendergast told the ABC it was possible that the man did not even know he had been bitten by a snake.

“Not all snake bites are painful, depending [on] the type of snake,” she said. “Black snakes such as mulgas and red bellies do have myotoxins in their venom so they are quite painful bites … brown snakes, they don’t have [myotoxins] in their venom so it would be like a small pin prick.”

Paramedic Michael Grainger advised people to apply a compression bandage and call 000 if they were bitten by a snake.

“First of all, do not try to kill the snake, usually that ends up with the patient having multiple bites,” he told the ABC. “Retreat to a safe distance away from the snake. Where possible put a compression bandage on [the bite].

“Limit exertion because the faster your heart pumps, the more quickly the venom will spread through your body … and call 000 as quickly as possible.”

She advised people to wear boots, long pants, a long-sleeved shirt and a pair of gloves while in the the bush. And she advises people who come across a snake to stand still so it doesn’t feel threatened, and it will then move away.

  • Have you had a close encounter with a snake while out in the bush? How snake aware are you while travelling? Comment below.
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Sue Biddle
6 years ago

We had an encounter with a red bellied black snake at Crows Nest National Park three weeks ago, while walking back from the waterfall. I grabbed my husbands arm to stop him, as he had not seen it, and we both stopped still until it slithered off into the bush. This has been our first encounter with any snake while walking.

6 years ago

I was walking along Sampson’s track, Marlo when a brown snake (I think) was heading in my direction. I stupidly had thongs on. Fortunately, he spotted me first and retreated whilst I was stunned at his presence. A good lesson for me. Wear long pants and closed in footwear, I”e., joggers. The bush is their domain!

John and Lyn
6 years ago

As we have had various Caravans and Campers and having trouble with Electric Brakes,we decided to buy a Jayco J Pod, all it is a bed on Wheels,not contained we do tow it with our Hilux Ute we have a tent that we put up and have our Fridge and Freezer on the Ute we have found this Unit easy to tow only weighs 520 Kilos


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