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Bundaberg man lucky to survive Eastern Brown bite

SNAKE SEASON: Dominic Pope was bitten by a snake while working at a farm in Bundaberg.
SNAKE SEASON: Dominic Pope was bitten by a snake while working at a farm in Bundaberg. Mike Knott

DOMINIC Pope had a brush with an eastern brown snake and lived to tell the tale.

The snake, which produces some of the deadliest venom in the world, bit Mr Pope on the arm while he was working on a farm in Bundaberg early Monday morning.

"I was working outside and bent down to adjust the hose and as soon as I hopped back up, I felt a tap on my arm. I looked down and there it was," he said.

"It would have been about a foot and a half in length. I was straight up scared. I looked at my arm and noticed two little bite marks."

The 21-year-old said when he realised what had happened, adrenaline and panic kicked in.

"No one was with me in the paddock at the time, so I was freaking out," he said.

"I tried to contact the boss and couldn't get on to him so I called the ambulance and they got onto the boss while I radioed for help."

Mr Pope was met by another worker who applied first aid with instructions from the triple 000 operator on the other end of the phone.

"We put the bandage over the bite mark, down to the tip of the fingers and back up to my shoulder," he said.

"I was shaking, my heart rate was up and I was having hot and cold flushes but I think that was from the adrenaline."

The ambulance transported Mr Pope to hospital where he stayed under observation and was released at 10pm that night.

"There was no poison in my system, so it was a dry bite. The doctors said the snake just gave me a little tap and no venom was produced," he said.

"I was very lucky."

Mr Pope was one of two snake bite victims that day. A man in his 40s was transported from Monto Hospital to Bundaberg Hospital with a suspected snake bite on his leg.

According to Bundaberg snake catcher Anthony Zink, there was always an increase of snake activity this time of year.

"They are quite active at the moment because it is hot and they are looking for places to cool themselves down. Usually, that is in someone's nice air-conditioned home or business," he said.

Mr Zink said in the past week he had caught about 20 snakes in the Bundaberg region.

"Mostly the eastern browns, three green tree snakes and five or six carpet snakes," he said.

Mr Zink said snakes sense movement and will only attack if they feel threatened.

"If you come across a snake, do not try to shovel it. If you are gardening and have a plastic rake or broom nearby, try to put that between yourself and the snake. It is better if the snake bites the plastic rake than you," he said.

"If you can back away safely, do so slowly. If the snake is under two metres away from you, stay very still and wait for it to move on."

If you have a snake problem that you would like to take care of, Anthony Zink can be contacted 24/7 on 0415 473 090.

 


First aid steps to treat a snake bite

THE Queensland Ambulance Service (QAS) are warning people to be aware of snakes and to take care while moving about this season.

"Queensland residents should be alert as the state is home to some of the world's most venomous snakes including the Red-bellied Black, Eastern Brown and Common Death Adder," QAS director, clinical quality and patient safety Tony Hucker said.

"When it comes to snake bites, prevention is always better than cure. It's recommended people take extra care to avoid snakes at this time of year."

If a snake bite does occur, the best course of action is to assume the snake is venomous and call triple-zero (000) immediately," Mr Hucker said.

Basic first aid steps to treat a bite include:

  •  Avoid washing the wound as hospitals can test the bandage for poison and may be able to identify the type of snake, which will aid in treatment.
  •  If only one bandage is available, start over the bite site and then work up the limb. If more bandages are available, bandage over the bite site, and then with a second bandage start at the extremities (fingers or toes) and work up the limb. Bandage the limb firmly as you would for a sprained ankle
  •  Splint the limb to keep it straight
  •  Do not allow the victim to move around
  •  Ensure the snake bite victim remains calm, as panicking will cause the heart rate to increase which will spread the poison around the body more quickly


"One of the best ways the community can prepare for snake bite emergencies is by enrolling in a QAS First Aid course. The QAS offers comprehensive first aid training courses throughout Queensland to ensure people are prepared for all types of incidents," Mr Hucker said.

To book a First Aid course go to https://bookings.qld.gov.au/services/firstaid/


Deadly snakes- Most venomous snakes in Australia:

  •  Inland taipan
  •  Eastern brown snake (most common venomous snake in Bundaberg)
  •  Western brown snake
  •  Mainland tiger snake
  •  Coastal taipan
  •  Mulga
  •  Lowlands copperhead
  •  Small-eyed snake
  •  Death adder
  •  Red-bellied black snake
     

Topics:  eastern brown snake, snake



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