Safety Around Snakes

Snakes are an essential part of healthy ecosystems, controlling populations of smaller animals through predation. Rat and mouse populations are kept in check globally thanks to snakes, hugely minimizing both the produce lost to farmers due to rodents, and their associated diseases.

We naturally come in to conflict with snakes in Australia, particularly during the warmer months when the temperatures allow "cold blooded" reptiles to move and hunt more actively. If you come across a snake, do not be alarmed, they're in no way out to harm you and will do their best to avoid you. Snakes generally have poor eyesight and cannot track non-moving targets very well. Keep a safe distance of several meters, do not move suddenly.  It is illegal and by no means a good idea try to handle or capture wild snakes without prior training and experience.

Here are some tips to keeping your house and yard less snake friendly:

  • Clean up! Tarpaulins,wooden boards, piles of litter, sheets of iron, all provide excellent snake shelter. Avoid having these outdoors near your house, if possible keep them raised off the ground
  • Rats are snake food! Keep your house rat and mouse free by eliminating food waste and if necessary buying traps.
  • Remove shrub and rock piles, particularly from around foundations of house, entrances and footpaths. Eliminate cool, damp areas in summer.
  • Seal entrances/gaps around doors, low windows, electrical wires etc.
  • Close screen doors during summer.

If you find a snake, keep calm, keep an  eye on it from a safe distance and call 0456880903 for immediate assistance!

SNAKE BITE SYMPTOMS

Snake bites present a variety of symptoms depending on the species of snake and their venom. These symptoms, along with venom analysis, can be used by hospitals to determine the species of snake and the appropriate anti-venom. Make notes on the onset and timing of symptoms when with a patient, they may save essential time in the end.

  • puncture marks or scratches
  • nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea
  • headache, blurred vision, drooping eyelids
  • bleeding from the bite site
  • drowsiness, giddiness or unconsciousness
  • breathing difficulties, problems speaking/swallowing
  • pain in the throat, chest or abdomen
  • respiratory weakness or arrest
  • dark urine

IF THESE SYMPTOMS ARE PRESENTED, CALL 000 IMMEDIATELY AND BEGIN FIRST AID AND MANAGEMENT

Steps for survival
  1. DO NOT wash the venom from the bite site. Apply the bandage directly to the site, or over sterile PrimaPore or similar, and mark over top with pen.
  2. DO NOT cut the bite site or try to suck the venom
  3. DO NOT apply a tourniquet
  4. DO NOT try to catch the snake!! This is the top cause for secondary bites! 

First aid and management

CONSCIOUS PATIENT
  1. Rest and reassure patient
  2. Apply broad pressure bandage (preferably heavy crepe or elasticised roller bandage) over the bite site ASAP!!
 •  start just above the fingers or toes, and move up the limb as far as can be reached (include the snake bite)  •  apply tightly without stopping blood supply to the limb. Double over or use second bandage if available.  •  DO NOT WASH THE BITE SITE!! 3.   Splint the bandaged limb.   4.   Ensure patient remains still. 5.   Write down the time of the bite and when the bandage   was applied • stay with the patient.  • check circulation in fingers or toes. For a detailed snake bite First Aid overview, follow the link to the Australian Venom Research Unit or St Johns First Aid for a .pdf UNCONSCIOUS PATIENT
  • Follow the DRSABCD sequence:
  1. "D" Assess Danger to yourself, patient and others, e.g. traffic hazards, the snake. DON'T try to catch the snake. Hospitals can analyse venom from the bite site.
  2. "R" Response. Hold patients hands, ask them to squeeze and call for their name and a response.
  3. "S" Signafor help. Call 000, or have some one call for help while continuing first aid.
  4. "A" Airways. Can they breath? Turn to recovery position, open mouth from chin, clear if necessary.
  5. "B" Breathing. Check visually or by contact. If not, try two recovery breaths.
  6. "C" Chest Compressions. For adults, 2 breaths and 30 compressions. Varies for children.
  7. "D" Defibirlation required. Follow the instructions on the Defib Pack.
  • Note that while DRSABCD are being performed, another person can find the bite and apply the pressure bandage method. It is, however, important to start DRSABCD if patient is found unconscious.