Mark Neath is a snake catcher from Buderim, pictured with a local carpet python.
Mark Neath is a snake catcher from Buderim, pictured with a local carpet python. Iain Curry

Snakes alive! Three bites in one day

MARK Neath understands the anxiety and uncertainty that follows a snake bite.

A few years ago, Mr Neath spent five hours in a Gold Coast emergency department with minor symptoms awaiting the results of an anti-venom test, which confirmed he had been bitten by a marsh snake.

Now a professional snake catcher based in Buderim, Mr Neath was surprised to learn three Sunshine Coast residents had been bitten by snakes last Friday given the erratic weather conditions.

A 50-year-old man was bitten on the foot at Coe's Creek, south of Nambour, around 11.20am by a suspected red bellied black snake.

About the same time in Chatsworth, north of Gympie, an 89-year-old man was also bitten on the foot by the same species and a woman, 46, was bitten on the toe by a suspected brown snake at Mons, near Buderim.

All three people were treated at local hospital emergency departments and released the same day.

Mr Neath said snake movements this year had been as unpredictable as the weather. His phone rang up to three times a day in the first week of January with pythons the main concern, but it had been fairly quiet since.

"It's been a funny year in a funny occupation. We have been seeing a few extra red bellied blacks around at the moment as their preferred habitat is being flooded and they are passing through a lot of new estates."

The most common venomous snakes on the Coast are the red bellied black, the brown and the rough scale.

Mr Neath, who has an impressive pet python collection, said while the majority of snake species on the Coast were harmless to humans, you should never try to capture or kill one.

>> SNAKE BITE FIRST AID

  • Phone or send for medical assistance.
  • Reassure the patient and encourage them to remain calm.
  • Have the patient remain as still as possible.
  • Do not attempt to catch or kill the snake.
  • Apply a pressure bandage to the envenomed limb or apply firm pressure if the bite is to the trunk.
  • Splint or sling the limb to restrict movement.
  • Where possible, help should be brought to the patient rather than moving the patient.

Source: Australian Venom Research Unit



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