Time for a refresher on snake bite first aid

The Australian Reptile Park is advising people to be cautious as the warmer weather brings snakes out of hibernation all over the Central Coast.

Households are urged to keep grass areas mowed and well maintained and avoid piling up leftover wood from winter or accumulating stick piles.

Tin sheets or any household items piled up can draw in heat, providing the perfect habitat for snakes.

Australian Reptile Park Reptile Keeper, Brandon Gifford, said he is stressing public awareness, bite prevention and safety.

“As it’s just the beginning of Spring, there’s no better time than right now to brush up on your snake bite first aid,” he said.

“Most Australians know our slithery friends do not go out of their way to harm humans.

“Snakebites mostly occur when people are trying to catch or kill the snake, so if you don’t do either of those things you drastically reduce your chances of having a negative encounter with one of Australia’s venomous snakes.”

Basic first aid includes keeping the bite victim calm and immobile, applying a pressure-immobilisation bandage on the entire limb, not just the bite area, and seeking emergency medical assistance immediately by calling an ambulance or going directly to the hospital.

“By applying the pressure-immobilisation bandage, venom cannot easily spread through the body, slowing down the envenomation process by giving more time for the bite victim to seek antivenom at hospital,” Gifford said.

Australia sees approximately 3,000 snake bites occur per year, of which around 300 receive antivenom, and on average, just one or two bites prove fatal.

The Australian Reptile Park is the only zoo in Australia that milks venomous terrestrial snakes for their venom to help produce antivenom and houses over 250 of the world’s most venomous snakes.

The Australian species are milked fortnightly by the venom keepers, as part of the Park’s venom program to produce antivenom.

Some of Australia’s deadliest snakes milked as a part of the program including taipans, eastern brown snakes, king brown snakes, tiger snakes, death adders, and black snakes.

Source:
Media release, Sep 10
Australian Reptile Park

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