Warmer spring days sparks the commencement of snake season, when they become active out of brumation (a hibernation-like state), looking to breed and source food.
Home to the world’s most venomous snakes, Australia sees approx. 3000 snake bites occur per year, of which 300 receive anti-venom and on average, one or two bites prove fatal.
Calling on public awareness, bite prevention and safety, Australian Reptile Park’s head of venom, Billy Collett says, “Spring is the season to be snake aware, not only for rural properties but also residential households, as snakes are out and active across all of Australia.
“Snakes don’t go out to harm humans, but if you get in their path or startle them, they will bite and it can be fatal.”
“While Australian Reptile Park saves approx. 300 lives each year through our anti-venom program with Bio CSL, experience tells us basic awareness and safety can also help save lives.”
“All households should keep grass areas around houses low and well maintained, also avoid piling up left over wood from winter or accumulating stick piles. Tin sheets or any household items like these that are pilled up, can draw in heat providing a perfect man made habitat for snakes.”
“These habitats provide a safe house for snakes as they sit in stealth mode awaiting prey to feed, and if startled they will defend through biting.”
“Sometimes accidents are unavoidable, but in the interest of prevention as experts in snake handling, venom and awareness, Australian Reptile Park looks to support the community with risk mitigation.”
A bite from a venomous snake acts to destroy blood cells, cause blood clots, or excessive bleeding and destroy tissue. If not treated immediately a fatality can be as quick as 30 minutes, depending on the toxicity level of the venom and the type of snake.
Basic first aid includes keeping the bite victim calm and immobile, applying a pressure-immobilisation bandage to the bite site on the entire limb, not just the bite area and seeking emergency medical assistance immediately by calling an ambulance.
“By applying the pressure-immobised bandage, venom cannot easily spread through the body, slowing down the poisoning process giving more time for the bite victim to seek anti-venom at hospital,” added Collett.
Australian Reptile Park house over 250 of the world’s most venomous snakes, which are milked fortnightly by Billy Collett, head of venom, as part of the park’s venom program for the production of anti-venom.
Some of Australia’s most deadly snakes milked at the park include: Taipans, brown snakes, king brown snakes, tiger snakes, death adders, and black snakes.