When talking to overseas tourists, it’s hard not to hear about the top 10 things the foreign tabloids says will kill you before breakfast, however with more deadly venomous snakes than nearly any other country, are your foreign friends really that wrong to be worried.
If you’ve spent any time out in the scrub or been in the bush, the sight of a slithery serpent, may worry you more than it should, in actual fact you are more likely to be bitten by a shark than killed by a snake.
Thanks to many advancements made in antivenin, in the last couple of decades.
We’re going to go over some helpful hints to make sure you don’t get fanged by one of these no legged lizards!
KNOW YOUR ENEMY!
Ok, well a snake is not your enemy, but it sure pays to know a little bit about them.
Firstly they like to bask on rocks, and can be found hiding in long grasses or across clear sections of bush track. If you see a snake, stomp your feet 9 times out of 10 they’ll run away.
And if they don’t run away, maybe you should…. But first read on to find out more about snakes!
There are 2 main types of snake in Australia, the first being the Pythonidae family , these are your typical pythons, like the popular diamond python, or the carpet python, whose bite isn’t as bad as their cuddle. Pythons aren’t the kind of snake we are worried about with snake bites, as their bites will typically only end in minor cuts and a little bruising.
The scariest kind of Australian snake type is the elapid family. This family includes broad-headed snakes, tiger snakes, Australian copperheads, red-bellied black snakes, king brown snakes and death adders. just the names of these snakes send a shiver down many people’s spines.
This family of snakes covers most of the deadly venomous fanged varieties of snake in Australia, these guys have small hypodermic needle style fangs.
The fangs found on most venomous Aussie snakes are contrary to popular belief, quite short, and rearward facing meaning an Elapid snake needs to open wide and get a really really good hold of its prey to inject a good shot of venom.
Because the fangs on elapids are so short and enter at a shallow angle, even if you get bitten by a ‘garden rake’, you aren’t dead yet!
This is where carrying a fully kitted out first aid kit comes into play there are many qualilty first aid kits on the market, ranging from simple kits suited for smaller injuries, all the way to remote area kits which resemble something that EMT responders carry.
For fixing snake bites you dont need too many things. but with a snake bite specific kit, you can buy yourself a little more time to get to a hospital, where they can treat you with modern medical science.
Included in the Survival Snake Bite Kit offered by 4WD Supacentre is a handful of useful components suited to Australian and PNG snake bites;
- 3 x Cotton gauze swabs, sterile, 7.5cm x 7.5cm
- 1 x Emergency blanket, 2.1m x 1.6m in zip lock bag
- 1 x Mini black permanent marker
- 2 x Nitrile gloves, large
- 3 x Pressure bandages – 2 SMART Bandages, heavy duty, reuseable and washable, 10cm x 2m; 1 medium weight, 10cm x 1.8m
- 1 x Snake bite instruction card, includes bite record register and CPR instruction card
- 1 x Splint, 11cm (W) x 61cm (L)
Once bitten it is best to identify the breed of snake. from here starting from the top of the limb you want to start wrapping, the limb firmly from top(end of the limb closest to the torso, to bottom furtest extremeties) repeat this step until you have no more bandages. Don’t forget to splint the limb to prevent as much movement as possible, and once it is wrapped, you need to elevate it, to slow circulation. please take proper first aid training for more details on how to handle an emergency like this!
The correct pressure is necessary to slow the transmission of venom through the lymph system and to your blood stream. this is hard to know exactly how tight to wrap your victims limbs, so survival created a one of a kind pressure bandage with indicators that become squares when the tension is ideal. this will mean you don’t go too soft and allow the venom to travel through the body.
The old adage, a snake is more scared of you than you are of it, almost rings true.but if you scare a snake the consequences could be deadly so appropriate clothing and carrying a good quality first aid kit like the Rescue swag or The survival snake bite kit at all times is the safest course of action!