Snake bite spike in Queensland hospitalises nine in a day

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Flaviemys purvisi

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DECEMBER 19, 2018
Natalie Wolfe


A spike in snake bites has landed nine Queenslanders in hospital in the space of a day.

Yesterday a person from Kenmore, a suburb in Brisbane, was taken to Royal Brisbane Hospital just before 10.30am after they were bitten on the hand by a snake.

Less than an hour later, a child from Jindalee was taken to the Queensland Children’s Hospital in a stable condition after they were bitten on the foot.

Jindalee is less than 20 minutes out of the Brisbane CBD.

Just before 2.30pm, paramedics rushed to another home just outside Brisbane after a teenager was bitten on the foot in Bunya.

The patient was taken to the Prince Charles Hospital in a stable condition.

A man in his 40s was the next victim. Just before 7pm, he was taken to Nambour Hospital on the Sunshine Coast after a snake bit him on his ankle at his home in Witta, an hour and a half north of Brisbane.

A man in his 50s was then taken to Townsville Hospital in a stable condition after a snake bit him on the foot just before 7.30pm in Jensen.

Fifteen minutes later, a man in his 30s sustained a suspected snake bite to his lower leg and was taken to Emerald Hospital.

Nambour Hospital received another victim at 8.15pm when a man in his 60s started to show symptoms of a snake bite to his ankle. He was also bitten at his home, in Eumundi.

The eighth person to be attacked by a snake yesterday was a man in his 50s.

Paramedics transported the man to Innisfail Hospital after he was bitten on the ankle at his home in Friday Pocket, just before 9.30pm.

And finally, the night before the group of eight were bitten, a woman in her 50s was taken to Innisfail Hospital in a stable condition after a reported snake bite to her hand at a home in Carmoo around 8.15pm.
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Nine people were bitten by snakes in separate incidents in Queensland over a 24-hour period this week. Picture: Supplied/The Australian Reptile Park. Source: News Corp Australia


Tony Harrison from Gold Coast and Brisbane Snake Catchers said it was important people try to leave snakes alone in the warmer months.

“People see professionals on YouTube or Facebook catching snakes and then they try and do it themselves,”
Mr Harrison said.

“Obviously our advice is to leave them alone and don’t try and sort it yourself because that’s when accidental bites happen.”

Mr Harrison also advised Queenslanders to keep their yards clean.

“Don’t leave stuff lying around because that’s when you get frogs, bird and mice moving in which is snake food,” he said.

“Things like piles of rocks, wooden sleepers, tyres, should all be moved away.”

Mr Harrison, who has been catching snakes professionally since 1994, said locals should also make sure they have a snake catcher on speed dial.

“It’s very important the snake catcher is 24 hours because if you have a problem, you can send them a photo of the snake and get an answer straight away,” he said.

Other states and territories also struggle with snakes in summer.

In October, three Victorians were rushed to hospital with snake bites over a period of four hours.

All three cases occurred during the afternoon at Nar Nar Goon, in the state’s southeast, Coimadai, in central Victoria and Nathalia, in northern Victoria.

Victoria’s Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning issued a statement at the beginning of October, warning Victorians that snakes were also “enjoying the spring sunshine”.

“With the weather warming up, these cold-blooded reptiles are now becoming more active and a lot more visible as they start to emerge from their winter hibernation to bask in the sun and to search for food and a mate,” it said.

“Eastern brown snakes are the most common in north east Victoria with the occasional tiger snake or red bellied black snake, which are usually found around wetlands, creeks and rivers.

“These three species are highly venomous, but it is rare for them to bite people. Most snake bites are received by people who try to capture or kill a snake.

“Snakes are generally very shy and prefer to keep away from people. They can be found in backyards as they pass through on their way to another habitat, so watch out for your pets as a snake could bite a dog or cat if disturbed.”
 

Yellowtail

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Sorry to hear about anyone bitten by a venomous snake and I hope they all recover well.

However I am mystified as to how people get bitten, are they not looking where there hands and feet are, are they not "snake aware" and alert to the dangers, is it their body language?
I am 75 years of age. I started catching venomous snakes while I was still in primary school and had dugites, tigers and death adders as "pets" and this was before snake hooks and hoop bags. As a young boy we roamed the bush and swamps looking for snakes always barefoot and never got bitten. Later in life I have been an avid bushwalker, walked thousand of kilometres (not barefoot) and with my interest in reptiles I seek out remote areas, mostly off track with lots of snakes. I have roamed and camped all over northern Australia and yes snakes have been in tents, vehicles even sleeping bags, I have dived with sea snakes on remote reefs, I now live in the middle of a snake infested rain forest with aviary birds and a rodent colony to attract them.

In all this time I have never been bitten by a venomous snake. I also have to add that I have never been swooped by a magpie, once by a wedge tail eagle when I accidentally got close to it's nest but never a magpie.
 
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