It's that time of year again where snakes are out in force. As a licensed venomous snake handler I would like to give you a few tips about what to do if you encounter one or worse if you should happen to be bitten. 
 
Firstly, if you are walking through long grass, walk with heavy steps. Snakes are deaf but sense vibrations through the ground very well from a distance. The key thing to know about snakes is that they are as scared of us as we are of them. If they detect you coming they will do everything they can  (with the exception of death adders) to get away from your approach. 
 
If you see one, avoid it. Ensure pets are restrained as they will be inquisitive and it's a story told too often of a beloved family pet being bitten because it saw something moving and went for a closer look. And vet bills are astronomical if they manage to even survive. Snakes will move away of their own accord if you are in the area. 
 
Now to the worst case scenario... if you or anyone of your loved ones or friends should happen to be bitten... 
 
Call 000!!!
 
Don't wash the bite! In the event that you can't identify the snake in question the hospital may use localised venom samples from the bite site to apply the correct antivenom. 
 
Keep the victim as still and calm as possible. 
 
Bites are usually a limb, typically a leg - keep it below heart level so that the venom has a more difficult path to travel. 
 
Compression bandage the wound, starting at the bite and working up the limb it's full length then working back down the limb and beyond. Snake bite bandages can be purchased however if you don't have them even ripping up t-shirts etc and working them into a makeshift bandage can be enough to save a life. Don't cut off blood supply - no tourniquets! Just minimise the flow of blood by applying pressure to the site. See the illustration for correct procedure. 
 
Apply a splint to further immobilise the affected limb. 
 
Limit any physical movement to a minimum and wait for help. 
 
If you can't visually identify the snake, take a photo but only if it is safe to do so. It will help with administering the correct antivenom. 
 
Just remember - we have 7 of the top 10 most deadly snakes in the world here in our country. They don't want to bite you as it wastes venom that they need to kill their prey. They will only bite if feel threatened. 
 
Stay safe in the bush everyone!
 

 

Matthew
Matthew (discomatt)
17 Jan 2017

yes When bandaging a limb leave the fingers or toes exposed so you can check that the bandage is not too tight and there is still some blood flow

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Garry
Garry (Gazza)
17 Jan 2017

Message deleted by the author.

Steven
Steven (ReefMaster)
17 Jan 2017

Ok I have removed my snakes comment as it can be inappropriate- yes snakes can be dangerous and if you are camping - always make sure your tents are zipped up properly when you leave it - always look where you are going too if going for a no.1 or 2 in the bush - you don't want it to take out the "precious".

and don't forget spiders too - on the last Robe trip - a huge spider was on one of the vehicles .

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Tony
Tony (le Dakar)
17 Jan 2017

Great advice This was a good review and re-cap on some responses I had likely forgot . Thanks.

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I hate snakes...but like your post!!

Thanks Winston!

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Allan
Allan (allanmac)
17 Jan 2017

Hate snakes with a passion and still cannot understand how some 4wders go bush, just wearing thongs, (foot type not underwear).

 

Good post Winston.

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Dez (dezezez)
17 Jan 2017

 

Thanks for the post mate, all excellent advice 

Cheers

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All good guys. Hope it's been useful. 

 

And they really are lovely creatures. 

 

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Garry
Garry (Gazza)
18 Jan 2017

.

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Rod
Rod (The tuff)
11 Mar 2017

Hi all, I use gumboots when I walk in the bush collecting wood for camp fire, I know they are heavy but very safe. Thanks guys for the useful post.

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Les (Les PK Ranger)
14 days ago

Hi all, I use gumboots when I walk in the bush collecting wood for camp fire, I know they are heavy but very safe. Thanks guys for the useful post.

Don’t forget some good long leather riggers gloves too !!

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Les (Les PK Ranger)
14 days ago

Good advice generally mate.

I’d just like to add the pressure / immobilisation first aid isn’t to stop blood flow carrying venom, but to limit the flow of lymphatic fluid that carries venom to the lymph nodes, located in the groin, armpits, and (if very unfreakinglucky) the neck. 

The venom and its properties don’t enter the blood until it reaches the lymph nodes, so correct treatment is so very important. 

I was bitten a few weeks ago in Sundown Nat Pk, didn’t see it, suspect Red Belly Black snake, we were in a creek and symptoms reflect myotoxic muscle destroying effects.

Everything went perfectly by the book and I only have the one fang mark still showing, with a little local tissue damage. 

I’m an ex Adelaide snake catcher, 3 seasons to learn more about snakes for my bushwalking / outdoor pursuits, we practiced first aid a lot. 

if people don’t carry them already, a couple of the proper snake bandages are immensely handy, as correct pressure is easily obtained when stretched so the rectangles marked form to square shape. 

Safe travels to all. 

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