Man back at work despite bite
DESPITE biting the hand that feeds him, Blackie the eastern brown snake was back on show at the Childers reptile park yesterday.
Snakes Downunder owner Ian Jenkins was also back at work after spending a night in intensive care at Bundaberg Hospital, suffering the after-effects of a bite he received on Tuesday.
“Apart from feeling like a complete idiot, I’m fine,” Mr Jenkins said.
“If someone told me they didn’t realise they were bitten by a snake, I wouldn’t have believed them. I used the same snake in a show today — when you fall off the horse, you’ve got to get straight back on.
Mr Jenkins said it was a wake-up call about how easy it could be to get bitten by a brown snake and not even realise.
“I thought I just had a scratch, I didn’t even think about it — even in the hospital, we couldn’t find any puncture marks,” he said.
It is believed Mr Jenkins was bitten when he was handling the snake before a show.
“I climbed into the arena and felt like I had a bit of heartburn, but I continued to the end of the show,” he said.
“I went to put the snake away, apologised to the public, and passed out.”
He said the venom from Eastern Brown snakes was not painful, which meant it could be easy to mistake a bite for a scratch.
“If I’d realised straight away what had happened, it wouldn’t have been much of a problem. That’s why it’s important to wear boots and long pants, and have bandages available if you’re going to be in scrubby areas where there might be snakes,” he said.
Queensland Ambulance Service officer in charge Gary Cotterill said staff at the reptile park gave excellent first-aid.
“With snakebites, it’s not about technology — pressure immobilisation has been the treatment used for years, and it still works best,” he said.
“If someone gets bitten, you should firmly bandage the full length of the limb and keep the patient as still as possible.”
He said there was usually about four snakebites a year reported in the Childers area.
“With all the rain recently, there are a lot of small frogs and lizards which snakes eat, so there are a few around,” Mr Cotterill said.