Australian Snakes and Death: Continued

by BobinOz on July 15, 2009

in Australia's Bad Things

In my first post about snakes I explained that the Brisbane area has eight snakes that can kill. Nationwide though, Australia has around 140 different species of snake of which 12 can kill. We have another 30 or so sea snakes. So, it’s worse than you thought right?

Wrong!

According to my research, there have been 41 snakebite deaths since 1980 in Australia. The brown snake is believed to have been involved in 24 of those deaths.

Eastern Brown 480x269 Australian Snakes and Death: Continued

The Eastern Brown Snake

The Tiger Snake is responsible for 8 and the Death Adder, Rough Scaled Snake and Taipan are responsible for the rest.

Some facts:

  • Australian snakes are very shy and timid. They would rather move away from a human, not towards one.
  • Australia’s snakes rarely envenom when biting defensively. Envenomation occurs in less than 1 in 10 bites. They prefer to hit you with a warning.
  • There are no documented fatalities in Australia from sea snake bite.

Update:

It has been pointed out to me that my statement above saying ‘Envenomation occurs in less than 1 in 10 bites’ is not reliable where browns are concerned. So I did a little more research.

First, some background about my original claim. I found a couple of websites making this statement and referencing the quote to ‘Sutherland & King, 1991: 1′. So I felt it was good to publish. But, since Gordon questioned it below in the comments, somewhere around comment 84, I took another look online.

I found an interesting site about toxicity. Some pretty smart people from Adelaide are behind it, including folk from the Women’s and Childrens Hospital and Adelaide University.

Here’s a selection of snakes and their envenomation rates according to them:

Eastern Brown Snake , Common Brown Snake

Rate of Envenoming: 20-40%

Mulga Snake , King Brown Snake

Rate of Envenoming: 40-60%

Inland Taipan , Fierce Snake

Rate of Envenoming: >80%

Common Death Adder

Rate of Envenoming: 40-60%

Mainland Tiger Snake, Eastern Tiger Snake

Rate of Envenoming: 40-60%

Red-bellied Black Snake

Rate of Envenoming: 40-60%

Golden Crowned Snake

Rate of Envenoming: Unknown but likely to be low.

You can read more information about snakes and other venomous creatures at toxinology.com

So 10% seems a little hopeful to us mortals, not just for browns but for almost all snakes. Don’t know how Sutherland & King came to their conclusions but, at best, it seems highly optimistic. Although in fairness, I don’t know who is right and who is wrong here or how they got to their conclusions?. If anyone can throw some light on this, please do comment below.

Again, my thanks to Gordon for pointing this out and apologies for publishing this information which now appears may be flawed. I’ll end this update as Gordon ended his comment “It is a rare event and a low risk overall though , that is true. So, no need to panic!

On with the original post……

More scary than snakes.

  • More than 20 people die each year in Australia from horse riding related accidents. Less than 2 a year die from a snakebite.
  • The deadliest of all Australian creatures, responsible for an average of 10 deaths per year, is the European Honey Bee, which can induce anaphylactic shock in some people.
  • The same happens in the UK, where there are an estimated 10 deaths a year attributed to wasp or bee stings.
  • About 30-60 people are struck by lightning each year in Britain and, on average, 3 of those may die.
  • Scuba diving causes 8 deaths a year here in Australia.
  • Don’t even get me started on road traffic deaths!

So, you are statistically more likely to die going horse riding or scuba-diving, by being struck by lightning or stung by a bee or wasp or by simply getting about in a car.

Prevention

Of those 41 deaths, it is estimated that over half of them occurred because the victim accidentally trod on the snake. Ways to prevent that from happening include wearing proper footwear when walking in the grass, using a torch at night, being a noisy walker and of course, watching where you tread.

About another eight of those deaths occurred because the victim was handling the snake. They either picked it up thinking it was harmless, or they work with snakes. Prevention: Don’t pick up snakes, but I’m sure you didn’t need me to work that out for you.

Probably another five deaths were due to the victims attempt to kill the snake. Prevention: Running away is always the better option. If it’s in the house, which would be rare, simply close the door to the room it is in or close all the doors and leave the house. Then phone a snake catcher.

That only leaves about five or six deaths which were probably unavoidable. And unpreventable.

It is also worth mentioning that alcohol consumption plays a big part in your chances of being killed by a snake. A high percentage of those killed had been drinking. Prevention: I can’t think of one.

Yes, Australia is home to some of the world’s most deadly snakes. But they are also some of the world’s most timid snakes. The worst countries in the world for snake deaths are Sri Lanka and India, followed by South Africa, Africa and then the USA. Yes, the USA has a higher death rate from snake bites per year than Australia. If you have ever travelled to America, has anyone ever said to you “oh my God! What about the snakes?”

I don’t think so.

I think we have been born to be scared of snakes. It has somehow been built into our collective conscious. But the facts don’t back it up. I have been watching an interesting programme called “The Snake Crusader with Bruce George”. He rides around on his Harley Davidson catching snakes and returning them to their natural environment. He loves them, and I’m beginning to like them too. They are beautiful creatures.

The thing is, he can go and capture a snake, pick it up (skilfully of course), place it in a cloth bag and eventually take it into the wild to be released. One would have thought the snake had been through a traumatic time and may well be feeling quite angry and aggressive.

But no!

When he takes them out off the cloth bag and places them on the ground, they just slowly glide away from him heading straight back into the bush. He swears some of them turn back to look at him as if to say “thanks mate” for being returned back home. They show no aggression at all.

There was an interesting quote on the show from Bruce himself. He said “Snakes don’t bite – people get bitten.”

By and large, he’s probably right.

Thinking of moving to Australia but scared of snakes?

Check out this link:

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{ 281 comments… read them below or add one }

Bruce Larsen September 21, 2009 at 8:32 pm

I have known Bruce George for many years and just to reinforce what you said about this bloke, he is very genuine in what he does with snake rescues. You only have to see how he goes about the ones he cares for at home to understand how much he really cares. The show was an opportuntiy to show people that snakes are not that scary.

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BobinOz September 22, 2009 at 1:53 am

I am not surprised by what you say, Bruce comes across as the real deal on TV too, a genuine bloke who really does care. And if what he wants to achieve is to show people that snakes are not scary, he’s doing a great job!

It is thanks to the work of people like Bruce that people like me become interested in snakes, want to know more about snakes and start to appreciate the beauty of snakes. When we know about snakes and understand them, we have no reason to fear them.

I have only seen one snake in the wild since I’ve been here in Australia, just one in two years, and that was in the botanical Gardens. It was only a little carpet snake and I was fortunate enough to be with my mate Ben who loves all wildlife including snakes. It was him who noticed it and called me over to take a closer look. We just looked and admired it.

It’s far more enjoyable than freaking out!

I hope Bruce does some more shows, I want to learn more, like how do you pick them up like that?

Cheers

Bob

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Emily October 19, 2009 at 4:55 am

I’ve just stumbled across your blog, particularly your posts on snakes…I’m a 16 year old girl who is fascinated by these creatures (I actually keep reptiles – currently have 2 central bearded dragons and 2 Centralian Pythons) It’s refreshing to find someone who’s take on snakes isn’t “KILL KILL KILL”. I often get people purposefully trying to stir me up with “the only good snake is a dead snake”. I’ve had the opportunity to get up close and photograph some of our most venomous snakes, and they are breath taking! If people stopped, and took a step back, they might be able to see them from or point of view…Reading your posts I agree whole-heartedly, and am happy to find someone willing to do research on what’s around them. You’ve given me a little more hope in the human race :)

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BobinOz October 19, 2009 at 1:58 pm

Hey Emily

Glad you found my site, it’s always nice to hear from someone who has something good to say about snakes, they get too much of a bad press. They are scarier in people’s heads than they are in real life. It’s the people who try to kill snakes that often come off worse. I say just let them be.

Most of the people I meet have the “KILL KILL KILL” attitude too, but fortunately I have also met one or two who have helped me to see their beauty and have shown me there is a different, better reaction and that is to let the snakes just get on with their own lives.

I’d love to hear some of your snakes stories and see some of those pictures and feature them here on this blog. If you’re interested, just send me an email via the contact form.

Cheers

Rob

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Shayne March 20, 2010 at 8:42 pm

I am an Aussie from New South Wales, used to have a reptile keeper’s licence and have had a few non venomous snakes, including a very large carpet python. They are truly the most interesting things. You never really get over the inbuilt fear, I always broke out in a sweat when I handled my snakes even after several years. Got rid of the snakes when my girl got pregnant (sorry preggers) for obvious reasons. It is interesting to note that most snakebite statistics only talk about “unprovoked attacks”. It seems that in Oz if you are an idiot and you get killed we don’t bother counting you….

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BobinOz March 21, 2010 at 4:15 pm

Hi Shayne

It’s interesting that you, as an experienced snake handler, still understand and respect that a snake can be dangerous even when you know how to handle it. I’m not quite sure what you mean by the “unprovoked attacks” statistics but from what I understand, some people have been killed by snakes because they didn’t follow some basic rules. Like don’t try and pick one up if you don’t know what you’re doing and don’t try to kill one just because it is there.

Example: if a snake enters the house I would suggest it would be foolish for an untrained person to try and catch or kill that snake. More sensible to just isolate the snake in the room and call a snake catcher.

All snake deaths count in Australia, as far as I’m aware, it’s just some could have been avoided if people had observed some basic rules.

I saw a TV programme about an American guy who got bitten by a rattlesnake and nearly died. He and his pal had driven up into the mountains with a few cans of beer and were on their way back home in the car when he spotted the rattlesnake by the side of the road. They stopped the car, he got out and tried to catch it so he could keep it as a pet.

I don’t know the bloke personally, but for me, he is an idiot!

Cheers

Bob

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Mike April 6, 2012 at 8:07 pm

I think the American was Pippin Graves. He tried to pick up a rattlesnake and got bitten on the hand. DR. Shawn Bush who treated him said it was the worst case of rattlesnake envenomation he had ever seen. He had to administer the largest dose of antivenom on a person ever to get him breathing. Even after that his arm and hand were a complete mess and he had to have extensive surgery. Sometimes idiots get what idiots deserve.

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BobinOz April 10, 2012 at 7:10 pm

I think he wanted to take it home as a pet, or something? Sounds like the snake had other ideas. Hopefully, next time he drives past a rattlesnake, he will just carry on driving.

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Mike April 11, 2012 at 8:03 pm

The show this case was on is called Venom 9 Ways to Die. They never said why he decided to try to pick up a rattlesnake and I don’t know what would possess anyone to do that. They had an interview with him while they were repairing his damaged arm and I think he learned his lesson, especially when he sees the hospital bill!!!!

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BobinOz April 12, 2012 at 8:46 pm

The program I watched, I think, was called something like “I’ve been bitten”. It was a hot day and he’d driven up into the mountains with a friend to drink a few tinnies and cool down. I think he must have drunk a few too many, because it was driving back when he stopped to pick up the snake.

Does that sound like the same guy?

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Mike April 13, 2012 at 6:54 pm

I’m not sure. The show I saw didn’t detail the events that led up to the bite only the aftermath. You may be surprised that there a quite a few instances of people trying to pin/catch rattlesnakes for whatever reason and many serious bites happen because of this. A lot of people underestimate rattlesnake venom potency/strike speed and think there not very dangerous but in reality their bites are horrendous. If you get a chance, check out a segment of I Was Bitten on youtube where a snake handler gets careless with his monocled cobra.

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BobinOz April 15, 2012 at 12:58 am

I think I’ve seen that one too!

Anyway, looks like we were watching different programs about the guy who picked up the rattlesnake. Maybe it was the same guy though, milking his 15 minutes of “fame”.

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william somerville March 28, 2010 at 1:49 pm

People should not be less afraid of snakes than bees because bees kill more people than snakes.

A snake bite is far more likely to have unpleasant consequences that a bee sting, and close proximity to a snake is riskier than close proximity to a bee.

Your logic would suggest motor bikes are safer than cars because fewer motorcyclists are killed than car drivers. Actually they are 50 times more likely to die on a per trip basis.

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BobinOz March 28, 2010 at 9:11 pm

I sort of take your point. But what I am trying to say is people usually have an unreasonable fear of snakes. They are not that big a problem. You’ve got to be really unlucky to get nailed by a snake.

Yes, I’d rather be stuck in a room with a bee in it than in a room with a snake in it. I’m just trying to put people’s minds at rest by explaining how unlikely it is that you’d meet your maker following an encounter with a snake.

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Danya April 17, 2010 at 2:58 pm

Hey, My name is Danya. I’m 13 and I live across the ditch in New Zealand. Snakes do really fascinates me, and i hate it when all people want to do when they see them, is kill them. I have only been to Oz 7 times as one of my best friend lives there. I have held a small snake at Australia zoo and was lucky enough to go see Steve Irwins show, a few months before his death. I’ve only seen a snake once, never in the wild only at Australia Zoo, which makes them even more fascinating to me. I’m doing a school project on poisonous animals in Australia so you helped me quite a lot.

Thanks for the information!,
Danya

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BobinOz April 19, 2010 at 9:35 pm

Hi Danya

It’s good to hear from you and I’m really pleased that you like snakes. That must have been really great to hold a snake over at the Australia zoo, I’ve never actually picked one up myself. I haven’t checked it out, but I imagine you don’t get too many snakes in New Zealand, or am I wrong?

I’ve only seen three snakes since I’ve been here in Australia, but only one of those was genuinely seen in the wild and it happened to be a poisonous eastern brown. You can see my post about my first real snake encounter here.

I’m glad you found some useful information here to do your school project. I hope you pass otherwise you might be able to blame me!

Cheers

Bob

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Danya April 20, 2010 at 3:07 pm

Hey,

The only poisonous thing in New Zealand is the Katipo Spider, so no I don’t see snakes in my back yard which I am VERY happy of. I wouldn’t exactly hit it or anything like that, but I’d be VERY scared! haha.

When I first picked it up, it wasn’t at all what i thought it would feel like. I only remember it a little bit because it was when i was about 9 so it was a long time ago. I remember being surprised when it felt scaley, same as my parents and 5year old brother (at the time).

I really enjoy your work and it’s really cool.
Danya.

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BobinOz April 20, 2010 at 7:29 pm

I didn’t know until I looked it up, but your Katipo Spider is the same as our red-back spiders. Very nasty bite that can kill, but hasn’t since the 70s, thanks to antivenom.

I’m going to pick up a snake one day myself so I can find out what it’s like too. I just need to find a snake…… and some courage!

Thanks for commenting Danya.

Bob

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Col B. August 2, 2010 at 8:44 pm

I tell myself “Why do I want to pick up a snake” when it’s not meant to be picked up anyway? I certainly would’nt like to be picked up as a fascination piece by an unpredictable King Kong! I’d probably do the momentary freak-out-and-shoot-him-in-the-head reaction if I had a gun on me!.
Here’s the deal: Abstain from picking a venomous snake up. It is’nt worth it even if you know what you’re doing.
Of the top ten deadliest snakes in the world, seven are located in Australia, with the other three being the KING COBRA of India at No.5; the DIAMONDBACK RATTLESNAKE of America at No.8 and the BLACK MAMBA of AFRICA at No.10.
For five of the seven most dangerous species making up positions 3,4,6,7 and 9 are the VIPER, DEATH ADDER, EASTERN BROWN SNAKE (not King Brown), TIGER SNAKE and COPPERHEAD. A specie of Australian SEA SNAKE (I’ve forgotten the proper name to it) is just outside the top ten at No.11 but anyway let’s move on to the top 2.
At No.2 is the Majestic KING BROWN. And the world’s most venomous snake? The near unknown and rarely seen FIERCE SNAKE which is found only in a pocket where the corner of SA, NSW and QLD border meets, that’s near the end of the first leg as you go from the back o’ Bourke. This snake, about 5 ft in length when fully grown, is a relative of the KING BROWN and EASTERN BROWN.
So here we have it. The fangsosphere has done it sharp!.

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Col B. August 2, 2010 at 8:55 pm

Oh! by the way, the VIPER mentioned in my last top ten post deadliest snakes in the world is known as the TAIPAN.

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BobinOz August 3, 2010 at 1:19 am

I’m with you all the way on this one Colin, why indeed? It’s one of those little rules I have made for myself, never pick up a snake. And as a testament to my own personal willpower, I’ve never broken the rule.

Having said that, it is good that we have people like Bruce George and other snake handlers around to remove snakes when they end up where they shouldn’t be. Otherwise we have to wait until they leave. If they’ve got inside your house somehow, that can make home life a little tense.

But yes, 7/10 for Australia is pretty good isn’t it? But I’d still rather have our snakes than those in India or the Philippines. Ours have more room to keep themselves to themselves, I think, and Taipan aside, they’re not too aggressive.

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Col B. (Colin Burns) August 17, 2010 at 5:53 am

No worries, Bob.
Yes, the Taipan is an aggressive snake unlike the other Snakes of Australia but l swear I read somewhere that the FIERCE SNAKE is an aggressive reptile as well.
Also, the non-venomous Carpet Snake will aggressively lash and bite at you during its breeding season (around the early part of the year) even if you are twenty feet away they’ll try to bite you (in thin air) if you walk toward them and you’re bitten when you get closer within striking distance of its fangs. The only other times in the warm months that they’re aggressive and/or in fear is when threatened or cornered.
Other than that, on every other day, are docile.
Carpet snake normally won’t bite you when they feel like it otherwise its an isolated or rare incidence.
Trust me, Bob, I had two Carpet Pythons living on the rafters inside my little cabin in the bush. I understand their nature.

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BobinOz August 19, 2010 at 12:27 am

Again, you got me having to Google to keep up. Seems the fierce snake is the inland taipan, he sounds nasty! Nastier than the other taipans.

I’ve also been told carpet python’s can give you a nasty bite if you catch them at the wrong time. Thank you for explaining the wrong times. But as you say, generally speaking they aren’t a problem. Like yourself, my friend has a carpet snake living in the rafters somewhere on his land. He saved me the snake skin when it shed it a while ago. You can see a picture of me holding it here…. carpet python snake skin.

I did see another quite large one I went camping in Mt Tambourine. You can see a picture of that snake here…. snake in rafters.

There’s a bit of a story to that one, he’s been living in the roof for years and never troubled anyone.

But as you say, don’t catch them on a bad day.

Thanks Colin.

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Matt October 18, 2010 at 10:38 am

Australian Snakes are so overrated and over hyped it isnt even funny. To even compare them to Indian or south asian snakes is a joke. And no australia does not have 7 of the top 10 most deadly snakes. It has 0 of the top 10. According to the mice toxicity test Australia has 6 of the top 10 most venomous snakes. But mice are completely different to humans and to claim that that means that australia has 6 of the top 10 most venomous snakes to humans is completely wrong and just plain stupid. The only way to tell how toxic a snake is to humans is to look at studies of snake bites on humans… The stupid mice tests are incredibly irrelevant. The toxic drop for drop snakes to humans would be the asian land kraits[ Bungarus] and the most dangerous snake[ as in most amount of people bitten and killed per year] is the russells viper. Asian snakes are really on a whole another level and to hear australians make stupid ignorant comments about their snakes being the most dangerous and deadly is really annoying. .

Heres a study on common krait bites. All patients went to the hospital and all received anti venom…. yet still 64 percent were paralyzed and needed to be put on a respirator to survive. The anti venom only worked if given within 3 hours….. now thats a dangerous snake

http://www.ajtmh.org/cgi/content/full/79/3/458

And here are some pictures of snake bites from various countries in Asia

http://www.searo.who.int/en/Section10/Section17/Section53/Section1024_3897.htm

So stop with the australian bs about snakes!!

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Mike September 3, 2011 at 9:37 pm

Please let me know how you came to the conclusion that the Kraits are the deadliest/most toxic snakes to people. You mention that a person only has around 3 hours to get antivenom for it to be affective yet if a person got a good bite from a Black Mamba, Coastal Taipan or King Cobra they likely would be dead in that time period based on clinical studies. You said Australia has 0 out of 10 toxic snakes to people. Have you studied the clinical details for Coastal/PNG Taipans? Similar to the Black Mamba, they are quite aggressive/nervous when approached and rarely dry bite. I know that Australia dosen’t have nearly the amount of snake bite deaths as Africa or Asia but there are many factors that account for this, not just snake toxicity alone. From what I’ve researched the untreated mortality rates for the Black Mamba and Coastal Taipan are off the charts. I’ve also read studies that say Tiger Snake AV is more effective for treating Krait bites and I have communicated with a friend who lives in Asia around Kraits. He tells me that many people underestimate Krait bites and don’t seek treatment untill sever symptoms manifest which makes treatment much more difficult.

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Mike September 4, 2011 at 10:45 pm

Here are medical details you should look into to compare with Krait bites. Quotes by Terence H. Davidson, M.D.
Black Mamba:(on top of thier neuro/cardiotoxic venom)
“Nephrotoxicity: Acute renal failure has been reported in a few cases of Black Mamba bites in humans as well as animal models. Oliguria or anuria with possible changes in urinary composition will herald the development of renal shutdown.” “Delay in administration or insufficiant dosages of antivenom may allow serious neurological symptoms and respiratory paralysis to manifest which may be very difficult to reverse once established. Serious envenomations will require full intensive care.” “Untreated Black Mamba bites are likely to be fatal.”
Coastal Taipan:
“Prior to the introduction of specific antivenom, the envenomation fatality rate was essentially 100%.” “Clinically, envenomations may represent a complex scenario of multiple organ system poisoning with neurotoxic symptoms typically dominating. Acute renal failure, Rhabdomyolysis, and Disseminated Coagulopathy may also complicate the setting.” “The development of general and/or respitory paralysis is of paramount concern in that these are often difficult to reverse once established, even with large amounts of antivenom.” So you can see it’s not only Krait bites that are difficult to treat once serious symptoms kick in. I agree that Krait bites are very serious but to say basically that the most serious bites are caused by Asian snakes and ignore other highly dangerous snakes in the rest of the world is incorrect.

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BobinOz September 5, 2011 at 6:58 pm

I think Matt’s gone, haven’t heard from him in a long while. Sorry Mike.

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Mike September 5, 2011 at 10:48 pm

It looks that way. I wanted to share the information with others as well to show that other snake bites are just as difficult to treat as Kraits. The two snakes I provided medical details for can be even harder to treat if renal complications occur. Even though bites from the Black Mamba and Coastal Taipan are rare, the consequences are extremely life threatening.

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BobinOz October 18, 2010 at 8:23 pm

Wow! You’re aggressive aren’t you? If you were a snake, you’d live in India for sure. Did you actually read my post? In particular….

“Australian snakes are very shy and timid. They would rather move away from a human, not towards one” or…..

“Australia’s snakes rarely envenom when biting defensively” or…..

“Yes, Australia is home to some of the world’s most deadly snakes. But they are also some of the world’s most timid snakes. The worst countries in the world for snake deaths are Sri Lanka and India”.

Or from the comments above…..

“But I’d still rather have our snakes than those in India or the Philippines”

Or are you having a pop at Col B who has also commented above? Either way you could do with getting off your high horse, opening your eyes and realising that almost everybody who has commented here actually likes snakes. We are also aware of the misleading hype suggesting how dangerous Australian snakes are. We don’t need you to come barging in here to preach to the converted.

As for those mice tests, of course they’re stupid, unless of course, you are a mouse. In which case, take them very seriously indeed.

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Matt October 19, 2010 at 5:33 am

Lol I was taking a “pop” at colin… not you… I like australia and I like your blogs about australia…. but I dont like the fact that Australians stupidly over-hype all their animals as if it makes them cool or tough or something. Their snakes aren’t even half as dangerous as asian snakes.

Anyway just out of curousity…. How would you rate these cities [ Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide] for best to worst in terms of crime, best places to visit, and best place to live in/raise a family.

Thanks and I apologize for the the first post…. It was more target at colin and not at you. What I said was completely true but I came across as an ass.

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Colleen June 6, 2011 at 8:24 am

G’day, I’m not trying to impress you, but I’m from Australia and yep, we’re so cool cause we’ve got all these dangerous animals here. Only a couple of meat-eaters though (Saltwater Crocodile and a shark or three), the rest are venomous creatures of some variety. And yes, that does make us cool and the rest of the world needs to deal with that.

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BobinOz June 6, 2011 at 1:39 pm

…er, actually, we’re ‘cool and tough’ – hehe.

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COL B. October 19, 2010 at 8:55 pm

Well l’m not even slightly impressed with a bully ‘cocking a gun’ at us, Bob. I think he’s actually referring to my comment and noticed your response below me as well. He does’nt belong here and l’m sure you won’t want a beer with a wild west cowboy with a chip on his shoulders and taking it out on you, aye!
Bob I’ve been surfing the web a lot on snakes over the last month and still researching more in order to scale it all down to the average level because l noticed that there are a lot of differences, conflictions, top ten charts differences and the diff ‘tween the words “Deadly”, ‘Dangerous”, and ‘Poisonous” and other useful studies. I shy away from researchers (or so-called ones) that use the word “Poisonous” The info I contributed in my previous post above (that the aggressive cowboy referred to) came from a book in 2001 that used the word “poisonous”. l did not notice it until a couple weeks ago. There is a big difference ‘tween the said three words, Bob.
So l’ll be still on the surfing for a while more. Then l’ll get back to you then. Cheers Bob.

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COL B. October 20, 2010 at 6:05 am

After replying to you last night ,Bob, I’d thought l’d check in the morning see if there’s something new here. Alas, there was. I must of Overlooked another comment made by Matt in which he posted before I did!. I see now it is me that he is targetting. Matt, If you’re going to take your anger out on me, I would see you as aggro fellow unless you are plain disappointed ( there’s a big difference between ‘Aggressive’ and ‘Disappointed’). If you look long enough and check out a
lot of websites on Snakes you’ll see a lot of conflicting
information and other stuffs on the subjects, most sites came from overseas researchers (or so-called ones). It is not just the Australians. Bit like the news we all read in the newspapers in which Journalists were either told by sources who thinks to know what they’re talking about, or a considerable number of Journalists themselves giving half lies as to sensationalize any given articles bestowed on us to ‘believe’ any incidents they print.
I am not “stupid” nor are other Aussies (as you dictates) or anybody else who get their informations from either true or false sources.
On the contrary, l also see Bob’s site as very unique.
For your information, apologizing only to just Bob is’nt good enough.

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BobinOz October 20, 2010 at 3:44 pm

Well this is a nice little dingdong as my dad would have called it. We’ve all had our hackles up, we’ve all had our say, although I would just like to add that unless you are really looking for a fight, it’s not a good idea, Matt, to come into a blog and make a first comment accusing people of BS or a second one accusing Australians of being stupid.

But I live in hope, so perhaps we can all try to get along together now?

But looking at your comments, you’ve both raised interesting points that should be discussed. Firstly, I agree with you Matt that the reputation of Australia’s dangerous creatures is definitely worse than the reality and I also agree with Col B that it is not just Australians who perpetuate that idea. In fact I think it is more a case of the rest of the world describing Australia as the most extreme country to live in and the most venomous and dangerous. Australians who live here hardly talk about it or worry about it.

Well, that’s my view.

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Matt October 21, 2010 at 6:57 am

No bob Australians are clearly the ones who put forth this false crap about their snakes and animals being the most dangerous. I dont know how many times I’ve been reading something about snakes when this idiot from Oz comes on and says “well Australia has by far the most dangerous snakes and 6, 7, 8, sometimes even 10 of the top 10 most venomous snakes are from oz” Then I have to go on and explain to them how stupid they are and how australian snakes are not even close to being the most venomous snakes and that venom toxicity to mice is completely useless to humans……and that snakes in oz are very secretive and shy…. The most dangerous snakes are Asian ones…. no question about it… and if any of those sensational Australians would actually read studies on snake bites from Australia, Africa, Asia… they would actually be knowledgeable on snakes and not sound stupid.

Australians seem to love bragging about their so called “dangerous animals” and everywhere you look you see this incorrect crap about how their snakes are so venomous and dangerous etc. People from other countries are certainly not the cause for this…. Australians are.

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BobinOz October 21, 2010 at 4:04 pm

Matt

YOU are the idiot. If you need proof, just read your last comment, it doesn’t even make sense. Sounds to me like the only conversations you’ve had with Australians about snakes is in your own head.

You are also clearly a troublemaker and probably racist. Go away, you’re not welcome here.

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Melanie October 28, 2010 at 1:25 pm

I have found this very informative and reassuring. We have recently purchased 80 acres of land in the Adelaide Hills and are attempting to encourage natural revegetation and plant the appropriate trees. Last weekend whilst walking around checking my seedlings I noticed a shiny brown snake about 4 feet away from me out in the open sunning itself. I went “erk” and walked quickly the other way and he went “erk” and slithered off in the opposite direction. I was wearing thick jeans and knee high boots but I think I will add thick gloves to that ensemble when checking my trees. I’m not unduly worried, especially after reading your statistics, but will nevertheless be “alert but not alarmed” and would never want to harm a snake in any way.

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BobinOz October 31, 2010 at 10:07 pm

Hi Melanie

Sounds like your first snake encounter, not so bad was it? Shiny brown is probably an eastern brown snake, which could potentially kill you. But generally speaking, they prefer to just slither away as you have seen for yourself.

The biggest danger is when you accidentally tread on a snake that you haven’t seen it and it will just flick round and give you a bite. So the important thing is to keep your eyes peeled, watch where you’re walking and tread heavily. The snake will feel the vibration as you approach and move away, generally speaking. Protective clothing obviously helps too.

And welcome to Australia, I like your attitude and hope you love it here as much as I do.

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Brodie November 4, 2010 at 12:04 am

Hi mate,

Just stumbled on your blog. I have been involved in professional herpetology all of my adult life. I have walked into many pubs to ask about snakes. Usually, this question is met with a lot of negativity, irrational fear and outright lies (Taipans breeding with Carpets, creating a super venomous, 10m snake, etc). It’s great to see someone with your attitude and dedication to education.

I am sure you are aware that the King Brown or Mulga Snake (Pseudechis australis) and the Eastern/Common Brown Snake (Pseudonaja textillis) are very different animals. The paraphrasing you use gives the reader the impression that they are the same animal! Just thought I would clear this up for some of your readers! This does not detract from the quality of your blog at all, however!

Pseudechis are the black snakes. For example: Red Bellied blacks (P. porphyriacus), Collets Snake (P. colleti). the Spotted/Blue bellied black snake (P. guttatus) and the recently described Pygmy Mulga Snake (P. weigeli). There is a lot of ongoing debate about the current taxonomy of Pseudechis spp. (particularily P. australis and P. weigeli) so we will no doubt see a few more species named in the near future.

Pseudonaja are the brown snakes. Like the famous Eastern/Common Brown (P. textillis), the Western Brown or Gwardar (P. nuchalis) and a few more!

Matt – Complete T*sser! Drop for Drop, Australian Snakes are much deadly than those of anywhere else in the world. However, because of our huge country and tiny population, bites are very rare. With modern and easily accessible medical treatment, deaths are even rarer!

The reason Asian and some African snakes, such as the infamous Russells Viper (Viper russelli) and the Saw-Scaled Vipers (Echis spp.) kill so many people (Upwards of 5,000 deaths per year have been recorded), is because of the high population density, extreme poverty and lack of modern or any Medical Treatment.

Having said that however, the worlds deadliest snake is the one that just bit you!

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Mike April 6, 2012 at 9:24 pm

Hi Brodie! Hope you are doing well. I’d like yours and others thoughts on how you view the accuracy of LD50 tests. I’ve been doing some more research on Dendroaspsis Polylepis and found some interesting tidbits. In 2006 a 7,500lb adult Afriacn elephant named Eleanor was fataly bitten by a Black Mamba in a national reserve in Kenya. It is the only scientifically verified case of an adult elephant dying of snake bite. Well, that got me crunching the numbers based on its LD50(mice). The Black Mamba has an average venom yield of 100 to 120mg per bite and 10 to 15mg is considered lethal to an average size man. So say the LD is 12mg and the average man weighs 175lbs. Multiply that times 10 to get the venom yield of 120mg so the Black Mamba should only be capable of killing 1,750lbs in a bite. The elephant weighed 7,500lbs!!!!! By the way I like how you pointed out that population and medical facilities are factors in regards to the snakes that cause the most deaths. Before major farming started in Swaziland, It was estimated that Black Mambas killed around 11 people per year. In a recent study(published in Swaziland news 2010) due to the increased population and poor medical facilities, there are now an average of 30 deaths per year caused by the Black Mamba in Swaziland alone!!! This goes a long way to prove your point.

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Col B. April 6, 2012 at 11:05 pm

Hi Mike. Just need to throw in a point regarding your post. The Elephant that died from a Black Mamba snake may have had a weak ailment of some kind. Based on a lot of these largest living land creatures versus a miniscule type of poison. It is a tad hard to believe that the latter would always kill every Elephants bitten with the same amount. To make an example of this, a lot of Humans have different allergies, that a certain miniscule of poison would kill one of the sufferers who is allergic to it. Another point is that a specie, say, the Black Mamba, can be among 1 or 2 per cent of Black Mambas that may have an extreme stronger poison in its venom than its fellow members of the same breed, each on a scale that is not the same. All living forms of life have some degree of allergies of differing kinds. Each living lifeform of the same breed or specie have different eyesights, deafness or hearing, smells or, my twin brother always, yes, always gives off a smellier ‘deadly’ fart than l do!. Each in the same specie has something that differ on a scale from extreme weak to extreme strong, regardless of any sensory or any inner/outer organ’s state or even the state of the immune system. Nothing of the same is the same. All this has to be considered in sense.

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Mike April 7, 2012 at 6:02 am

Thank you for your thoughts. I like how you say no 2 of the same species are exactly the same. This is another reason I believe the LD50 tests are limited. As far as Eleanor is concerned, she was reported to be in good health before the snake bite happened. There have been other “reports” of Black Mambas killing elephants, cape buffalo, rhinos and cows but this is the first “verified” case where scientists went out and documented the event.

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BobinOz November 4, 2010 at 10:07 pm

Hi Brodie

Well I’m glad you have stumbled upon my blog, it’s good to have someone in here who does know what they’re talking about when it comes to snakes. Which leads me to a small confession.

Yes, I did suspect that the King Brown or Mulga Snake was in some way different from the Eastern/Common Brown Snake, but I wasn’t really sure how. I had somehow formed the opinion in my head that perhaps a Mulga Snake was just a much bigger Common Brown Snake.

On that then, I am obviously wrong. And to be perfectly honest, the reason I have not attempted to explain the difference clearly to my readers is because I really didn’t know what the difference was. So I thank you for pointing it out.

And your explanation for why Asian and some African snakes claim so many more lives compared to our Australian snakes makes perfect sense. More sense than Matt made with any of his rants, so thanks for clearing that up too.

And I think that’s great, “the worlds deadliest snake is the one that just bit you!”

hehe! That’s very true.

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Matt November 13, 2010 at 8:25 pm

“Matt – Complete T*sser! Drop for Drop, Australian Snakes are much deadly than those of anywhere else in the world. However, because of our huge country and tiny population, bites are very rare. With modern and easily accessible medical treatment, deaths are even rarer!

Completely untrue… Australian snakes are not the most venomous to humans its a myth and a joke when you actullay read studies on snake bite on humans. Australian snakes occupy 6 of the top 10 most venomous snake to mice… but mice are NOT humans and humans react way differently to toxins than mice do… The only way to figure out which snakes are the most toxic to humans is either to test it on humans[ obviously impossible] or to read studies of snake bites and then evaulate the severity of the bite from the particular snake[ considering antivenom medical treatment etc] and then guestimate based on what you have read. I have read numerous studies on snake bites from australian snakes and asian snakes bites and the australian snakes werent even comparable.

Heres a good article from an actual credible Australian herpetologist[ and most Australian herpetologists are fools] explaining the myth of Australia’s so called most venomous snakes.

http://members.iinet.net.au/~bush/myth.html

The snake with the most drop for drop toxic venom to humans are the Kraits..

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Matt November 13, 2010 at 8:32 pm

“The reason Asian and some African snakes, such as the infamous Russells Viper (Viper russelli) and the Saw-Scaled Vipers (Echis spp.) kill so many people (Upwards of 5,000 deaths per year have been recorded), is because of the high population density, extreme poverty and lack of modern or any Medical Treatment.”

Yes those are definitely reasons that explain the high death rate… But still the majority of hospitals in Asia[ not sure about Africa] are equipped with anti venom and modern treatment like respirators[ machines for dialysis incase the patients kidney’s fail etc] and yet they still have the huge death tolls. Snakes from say India simply have much more potent and nastier venoms to humans than do Australian snakes. Studies of bites clearly show this and no credible herpetologist puts any credibility and faith into those stupid ld50 mice tests at all.. Why is that you may ask? Well simply because ever different animal has a different ld50 for snake venoms. The ld50 rankings of snake venoms to mice is… only applicable to mice… Saying that a taipan has the msot toxic venom to mice… so it automatically has the most toxic venom to all other animals and humans is absolutely idiotic and completely ridiculous.. All animals have different ld50 ratings for snake venom’s and the only accurate way to find out which snakes are the most toxic to humans would be to either test snake venom’s on humans or on chimps[ obviously impossible] So the only thing you can do to get a fair gauge as to which are the most toxic is to read studies on bites and the so called most venomous Australian snakes dont even come close to comparing to deadly Asian snakes.

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Mike August 28, 2011 at 11:58 pm

I agree that the LD50 test may not be applicable to people and even if it is it does not take in the overall affect of a bite(fang length, venom yield, temperment,etc.) and often contradicts mortality rates because of this. I’d like to know how you think a Black Mamba compares to Asian snakes on a one on one encounter. As far as I know it along with the Coastal Taipan have the highest untreated mortality rates in the world. Let me know how you came to the conclusion that Asia has the most toxic snakes to people. I don’t see how this can be said as tests are not done on people so we don’t know with absolute certainty what the most toxic snake is or where it comes from.

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Matt November 13, 2010 at 8:50 pm

And here is the full ld50 chart[ rank of venom toxicity to mice] if anyone wants to see.. Of course you have to factor in venom yield and fang length and venom yield[ vipers almost always have larger fangs and higher venom yields than elapids] and the fact that it is tested in MICE which are not humans!!! Some of the info is incorrect aswell. For instance bungarus caeruleus gets a .365 under the subcutaneous score but a recent study just showed that it actually has an ld50 of .22 meaning that the venom sample in the first test was probably diluted and less powerful then it really is. The lower the score the more toxic[ to mice]

Here is for subcutaneous injection[ under the skin]
http://www.venomdoc.com/LD50/ld50sc.html

And here is for Intravenous injection[ Iv injection which is possible in a snakebite through generally rare]

http://www.venomdoc.com/LD50/ld50iv.html

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Matt November 14, 2010 at 2:37 pm

As for me being a tosser lol. I probably know 100x more about venomous snakes that you do..No credible herpetologist believes that the mice ld50 test has anything to do with how toxic a snake is to humans. Its just Australians trying to overhype and overrate their snakes so that they sound tough and cool to the rest of the world.. The truth is that Australian snakes have far less toxic venoms than do say Asian snakes and they are also far less aggressive and shyer. So stop putting out the Australian bs out about their snakes being the most toxic drop for drop because they aren’t and modern studies on bites from venomous snakes show that Australian snakes may be the most venomous to mice but they are NOT the most venomous to humans…. not even close Asian snakes are.

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BobinOz November 14, 2010 at 9:37 pm

Have you finished Matt?

You seem to be getting a little hot under the collar, I get the sense that you are quite passionate about this subject. But I’m not sure whether you’re passionate about people understanding snakes or passionate about bashing Australians. Here are five of your quotes that I find insulting:

….but I dont like the fact that Australians stupidly over-hype all their animals as if it makes them cool or tough or something

No bob Australians are clearly the ones who put forth this false crap about their snakes and animals being the most dangerous

Then I have to go on and explain to them how stupid they (Australians) are

…..if any of those sensational Australians would actually read studies on snake bites from Australia, Africa, Asia… they would actually be knowledgeable on snakes and not sound stupid.

Australians seem to love bragging about their so called “dangerous animals”

So if you want to talk about snakes and toxicity, then fine. If you want to bash Australians, go somewhere else. You nailed it when you said “….but I came across as an ass.

You still are coming across that way. It is possible to debate this subject without being so objectionable. Try it! Or do you think being this aggressive makes YOU “cool or tough or something”?

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Matt November 24, 2010 at 8:03 am

Its more of the fact that I am passionate against people who push bullcrap and incorrect information. Since Australians do this like no other… then I guess I am passionate against them lol. Pretty much every australian venomous animal is highly overrated and overhyped and doesnt even come close to comparing to venomous animals of south asia. Australian snakes are nowhere near as toxic nor dangerous as Asian snakes and yet you constantly hear incorrect info being said about them being the most venomous and most dangerous., It is garbage and factually incredibly wrong.

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BobinOz November 24, 2010 at 10:01 pm

Matt, I just can’t see the point of your crusade. You’re obsessed! And the rest of us are bored.

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Brodie November 25, 2010 at 10:21 pm

Hi Matt,

Sorry it has taken me so long to reply. But, as I am a herpetologist, I spend most of my time in the field, studying these animals. NOT arguing on a computer screen. I have just come back from a 5 week field trip to Vietnam.

I am off to Iron Range tomorrow, and really don’t have the energy to argue with someone who obviously has a limited knowledge of snakes. I suppose you feel smart because you googled snakes and found some latin names? Perhaps you should start keeping a personal diary? You seem to rant a fair bit. Helps to get those feelings out…..

Yes, LD50 is tested on mice. Do you know why? Venom components such as 3ftx and some other nasty neurotoxins generally work the same way on the cells of most mammals.

You are right however, no credible herpetologists rely on the LD50 alone. This is because modern venom researchers test venom components on REAL human cells. Have you bothered to contact any Universities and ask for toxicology literature? Or, do you merely keep a few pet snakes and believe all of what you have read on the internet? sad! The LD50 leaves us wanting, but, the fact remains that it gives us a relatively accurate indication of toxicity.
The fact is, the more dangerous Aussie snakes (most Pseudonaja, some Pseudechis, all Acanthophis, and Oxyuranus can kill you very quickly, and, if you survive, sometimes you never fully recover. Even Hoplocephalus spp, some Cryptohpis and even some Suta have recently been found to pack a very powerful punch! There is a good chance you will die from the bite of a 60cm Suta Suta if you dot seek medical attention! Go and find some modern literature, and you will learn just how dangerous these animals can be!

The Banded Krait of India can kill up to two dozen men in one bite., the Inland Taipan however, can kill over 100 people with one bite. Please provided a credible reference for your statement that is drop for drop the most venomous snake to humans.

In regards, Yes, there are great hospitals in some of the developed areas. However, almost ALL snake bite victims in Asia, are generally very poor and live in remote farming areas. Making modern medical treatment almost impossible. Ever tried driving through Vietnam during the monsoon season? It tooks us 6 days to travel from our base camp, through farming country and small villages before we got to the first decent sized town that actually had a small medical clinic (no antivenin, or respirators) and fuel available. We only had to travel 200km…. The majority of people living in Asia, have no idea about the basics of snake bite first aid, and subsequently, the victims often die before they reach hospital. This is not an indication of the toxicity of said animals, but enforces the point that these people do NOT have access to Medical Facilities. Even then, to find one with an adequate stockpile of antivenin is rare.

I Have spent a lot of my life throughout Asia and PNG. I have spent HUNDREDS of hours in Asian/PNG hospitals, watching people die from snakebite. A Decent bottle of antivenin legally obtained is as much as $5000 per vial.($15000-20000 on the black market) When you need 3-4 vials of this for just one patient, do you really think Hospitals have enough to treat all snakebite victims? Many remote hospitals treat hundreds (yes literally) of snake bite victims per day. Even the large hospitals can afford very few vials of antivenin. On one November day in PNG, we managed to obtain 6vials of CSL antivenin, kindly donated by the Australian reptile park.. All of it was used within 8minutes of arrival, on four victims. There were 86 confirmed bites that day.. These people haven’t got a hope in hell. It is unbearable watching people die, knowing that all you can do is hold their hand, to provide at least some level of comfort.

I have watched two very close friends die within minutes of being bitten by snakes in Australia. Hartley was bitten by a 3ft (very small) Eastern Brown, and he died in two minutes. I applied his pressure bandage, and ran to the car about 500m to come and pick him up. BY the time I got back, he was dead. My best mate, Tom, died in 26 minutes after being bitten by a large Coastal Taipan. I wont tell the story because it brings back terrible memories. The uni had to scrap that car, it was covered in vomit and bloody diarrhoea which we could not remove.. Suprisngly, such quick deaths are more common than you think. Venom composition changes dramatically within the SAME species, varying on age, season and geographical location. Get bitten by the wrong snake, on the wrong day.. Not pretty. Thankfully, Australian snakes generally inject minute amounts of venom for defensive purposes. Everyone in Australia knows how to apply a broad pressure bandage, and most have easy access to world class hospitals. (at the most, 8 hours away, if you apply appropriate first aid when bitten, you can go as long as 24 hours before irreversible damage occurs) Our taxes pay for HUGE stocks of antivenin. Not so in 3rd world asia mate.

Perhaps you should actually travel to the countires I am talking about, and see what life is really like there? Speak to some venom researchers, speak to the poor Drs who have to watch thousands of these poor people die every year, simply because they cannot provided adequate treatment. Venom in Asian snakes is largely myotoxic and cytotoxic, which a respirator is completely useless for. The best they can do for these people is offer strong, opiate based pain killers to make them more comfortable
Here is some further reading for you

http://www.avru.org/png.html
http://squamates.blogspot.com/2010/11/asia-why-snake-bite-matters.html
http://www.ajtmh.org/cgi/content/abstract/37/3/636

When I come back, I will put some effort into a decent argument, and will provide pdf. Access to thousands of research papers on venomous snakes.,

Please provided references for this statement?
“Snakes from say India simply have much more potent and nastier venoms to humans than do Australian snakes. Studies of bites clearly show this”

Also, I know Brian Bush very well. He however has no formal training. He is the first to admit he is not highly regarded amongst professional herpetologists. He is simply doing his bit in the hope that he can get people to respect and admire snakes. Most still have an irrational fear!

Its important to realize that just because we have the most venomous snakes in the world, that they are not the mostly likely to kill. They are generally very shy and rarely bite!

Sorry my post is ill constructed and I am sure it is full of bad grammar and spelling errors, I haven’t slept in a couple of days!

Keep up the great work Bob :)

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BobinOz November 29, 2010 at 1:17 pm

This is a tough one! Two people discussing snakes, which one do I trust? Matt or Brodie? Brodie or Matt? Errrrr……

Brodie, of course!

Thank you for the insights into your world Brodie, sounds fascinating, a little scary at times and often heartbreaking. And talking of scary, I think you have managed to scare the pants off a few people thinking of moving to Australia, and me a bit. My first real wild snake encounter was with a 3 foot brown, I took a video of it, you can see it by clicking to my post Snakes in Australia: My First Real Live Encounter.

Maybe I shouldn’t have chased him with my camera after all?

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Mike August 28, 2011 at 11:30 pm

Hi. I know I’m coming late to the discussion but I would like your opion on a couple of things. I personally prefer clinical studies on snake bite victims to determine deadlines rather than LD50. LD50 values can change in the same species due to age/locality/health/etc. and may or may not be applicable to humans. From what I researched, the Black Mamba and Coastal Taipan have the highest untreated mortality rate at near 100%. In comparison, the Eastern Brown has a 10-20% untreated mortality rate but is considered the #2 toxic land snake. I’ve never heard of a snake causing a death in 2 minutes unless an allergic reaction to venom came into play? As far as I know the fastest recorded death time is around 15 minutes by a King Cobra. Of course when it comes down to it a good dose of venom from an Eastern Brown, Black Mamba, King Cobra or any toxic elapid and some of the more toxic vipers will most likely cause death if left untreated. I would like your thoughts. Deadliness is subjective and it is quite controversial to say which is the deadliest snake on a one on one encounter.

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BobinOz August 29, 2011 at 9:59 pm

From the point of view of a human, rather than a mouse, the untreated mortality rate is a much more useful statistic than the LD50 values. But as science hasn’t yet plumbed the depths of enforcing snakebites on humans and timing how long it takes before they pop their clogs, we have to rely on anecdotal evidence.

So I can see why LD50 is used, although I’m sure many mice see it differently. But it is also because LD50 is used that we have this quite passionate debate over which snakes are and which aren’t the most venomous.

And no, it’s never too late to join the discussion. Cheers Mike!

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Mike August 30, 2011 at 7:11 pm

Thank you. I see the main debate is Asia vs. Australia for deadliest snake title so I thought I’d throw in a heavy weight contender from Africa(Black Mamba). There are different ways I’ve seen used to determine “deadly”.
1 Toxicity alone based on LD50(mice).
2 Mortality rates-toxicity+venom yield+fang length+temperment(willingness to bite and envenomate)+venom composition(fast acting vs. slow acting)
3 Sheer number of deaths-factors mentioned in #2+range+proximity to people+local health care/antivenom supplies.
At the end of the day, no venomous snake should be underestimated as some snakes considered to be non lethal like the North American Copperhead have caused a few fatalities in healty adults. Some other African snakes to consider are the Cape Cobra, Puff Adder(causes the most serious/lethal bites across africa) and the Saw-Scaled Viper(has a smaller range in Africa but they are also found in the Middle East and Asia. They are thought to cause the most snake bite deaths world wide).

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BobinOz August 31, 2011 at 10:10 pm

Asia vs. Australia for deadliest snake is not the main debate, it was mainly a crusade of Matt who has seemed to have lost interest.

Out of your list of three, I think number one is least useful to us humans. Number three was, by and large, Matts main argument as to why Asia was more dangerous than Australia.

But according to the LD50 theory, Australia has something like seven or 8/10 of the world’s most venomous snakes, but not the death rate to go with it. That’s because we have antivenom and helicopters.

But you are right, no venomous snake should be taken lightly. Fortunately for us, they tend to keep themselves to themselves, especially in this country.

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Mike September 1, 2011 at 6:59 pm

Very true. I’m hoping Matt comes back. I would like him to shed some light as to why he puts Kraits at the top venomous to people. Clinical studies puts the Indian Common Kraits untreated mortaly rate as high as 77%. This is extremely high but still falls short compared the the Black Mamba/Coastal Taipan near 100% untreated mortality rate and krait venom typically takes longer to kick in. There have been no recorded deaths caused by the Inland Taipan but I’m sure their bites would be extremely serious. There is a theory that the Black Mamba and Coastal Taipan may be related by convergent evolution. Black Tapian?, Coastal Mamba? I like the untreated mortality rates to judge deadliness myself as they are based on one on one encounters and without treatment shows the natural effect of the venom on a human and gives an indication of what snake is more likely to inflict a lethal bite. Thank you for your feed back.

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BobinOz September 3, 2011 at 3:46 pm

My pleasure. For me, the only problem with the untreated mortality rate method is that the injected venom is unmeasured and the size and weight of the human is probably not taken into account. So results aren’t strictly accurate, but probably still more meaningful than the mice test.

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Mike September 3, 2011 at 8:45 pm

That is true. It also doesn’t consider the type of bite(subcutaneous, intramuscular, intravenous), where the bite or bites occurred(was it a minor bite to a finger or a solid bite to a thigh) so it does have it’s limitations. But for me it does give a general indication of “deadly”.

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Matt November 30, 2010 at 6:38 pm

Brody if your going to write a really long post can you please next time separate it into either 2 or 3 posts… the really long posts can sometimes be a bit confusing to read.

I am glad that you replied and am looking forward to debating you. I quickly glanced over your post[ its 2 in the morning] and noticed some things that I agree with and others that I dont. I am not some annoying troll who doesn’t know what he is talking about… I do know what I am talking about and do have experience and most importantly I have extensively done research on snakes.and have read countless studies on snakebites from various types of snakes. I also know people who have done molecular studies on snake venoms and their proteins. The snakebite studies that I have read strongly indicate to me that asian snakebites cause the most severe symptoms[ of course their are many factors that contributed to this etc]. When I first got into snakes/herpetology I to was fascinated with Australian snakes and how they are the so called “deadliest in the world/have the most potent venoms etc.” Then when I started to read studies/accounts of bites etc I started to question this and eventually came to the conclusion that the ld50 for mice is irrelevant to humans[ and irrelevant to any other animal but a mouse]. Not to mention the ld50 test hasn’t been tested on numerous snakes. Many snakes are missing from it and who knows how toxic their venoms would be[to mice that is] Also snakes from different geographic locations can have very different venoms and toxicity can vary alot even if it is the same type of snake. A naja naja from east India may very well have more/less toxic venom[ to mice] than a naja naja from west India, or south India or Sri Lanka or Pakistan or Nepal etc. Their is not a set ld50 value for a given snake because their is a huge amount of variation in a venom of a particular snake across its geographic range. I just read something the other day that stated that Eastern Browns from Queensland were found to possess a considerably more potent venom than Eastern Browns from South Australia. The ones form Queensland also had a large yield etc and the venom potency from both the Queensland and SA eastern browns varied slightly by season[ more toxic in early spring I believe, through I dont remember]

As for the rest of your post I will have to address it either tomorrow or the next day[ its 2 in the morning in America right now] I would appreciate it if you would let me respond to your post before replying or making another post. I also want to make it clear that I do believe that the taipan family[ Coastal/Papuan, Inland] is top 2 in the world for drop for drop potency to humans[ Land Kraits and Taipans being top 2 and I am not sure on who is number 1] My qualm is with people stating that the eastern brown is the number 2 drop for drop to humans and that the various tiger snakes are top 1-10 and the commonly stated “myth”[ well atleast in my opinion] that Australian snakes are either the deadliest or have the most drop for drop potent venoms. I am also very sorry for your friends aswell… That is a very sad and tragic thing but at least they died doing something that they loved to do.

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BobinOz December 2, 2010 at 12:58 am

Okay everybody, you heard what Matt said. If you are going to make long comments, break them down into small little bite-size pieces otherwise it really does get quite confusing. That’s what Matt’s doing now.

He’s written a few words and now he’s gone for a lie down. When he comes back, he’s going to write a few more words. In the meantime, if we can all be patient and not add any more comments in case it breaks up his flow, that’d be good.

Is that okay Matt?

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Matt December 3, 2010 at 6:20 pm

Srry brodie… My post is coming soon. I have finals this week so I haven’t had much time to make the long post that I want to. i am about 2/3 done with the post[ its pretty long!] and will try to finish it tm or the next day. Hope your enjoying iron range… I’ve heard its a beautiful and awesome park and chilli beach is awesome.

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Colleen December 3, 2010 at 11:43 pm

Wow. I know very little about snakes until NOW! That was an entertaining debate, I’m with Team Brodie! Have come across your site looking for snakes in Yeppon. Have been thinking about moving up there and after accidently stumbling across a caravanning blog which tells me they are breeding like….er….rabbits up there I’m terrified that I’ll come across a snake on every other corner. I live on the Gold Coast at the moment in my own little snake-free sanctuary, where I know I am more likely to be killed in my car than by a snake, but if we narrow that down to local statistics is there a place where I am more likely to be killed by snake than my car? (and lets be honest here, my car doesn’t scare me quite the way a snake does). Also I have three small kids, how do I prevent them coming into contact with snake by accidentally treading on one? I don’t want to be scared of snakes I just am :-)

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AussieMitch December 4, 2010 at 12:51 am

Well GDay Bob,

Am loving your Blog and your community that have landed here and socialising your space.
Not meaning to be “A Snake in the Grass” (pun intended)
by just hanging here after reading this interesting discussion on snakes.
So just a quick comment to spread the word that snakes are very active at the moment in Oz.
I had a quick “Eyeball” encounter with a lovely shiny, healthy, fully grown (2mtr) Red Belly Black snake only last week.
This magnificent specimen was hanging out mid afternoon under the cover I use at night for my pet Cockatoo.
His shiny bright red belly was Awesome, and he deserved the respect which he got, and he slowly slithered away without any fuss.

He definitely made me do the eyeball slow backwards cossack step to end our quick date.

My snake handler who rescues and relocates snakes, told me that this venomous snake was not aggressive and was probably just after possible mice attracted to the cocky seed.
Another quick tip was that if you have red bellies around they keep the more venomous Browns away.

That sure makes me feel better every morning as I slowly and cautiously uncover my lil buddy’s (Cockatoo) cage. lol.

Thanks Brodie for such Great content and “real world”
Expert advice and info on snakes.OUTSTANDING.
Cheers All

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BobinOz December 6, 2010 at 9:10 pm

Hi Colleen

Yes, I’m quite enjoying this debate too, and I don’t think it over yet. And it looks like most of us are batting for Brodie, but Matt is currently writing a book. We are all waiting with baited breath.

As for you worrying about coming across a snake on every corner, this is what I think. If you stay out of the long grass, you probably won’t see any snakes and that goes for Yeppon too. But I’ve never been there, perhaps someone who knows more can help? Anyone know about Yeppon?

As for how you are most likely to meet your maker, on average only a couple of people a year die in Australia from a snake bite. In Queensland alone, in 2008, 327 people died in car accidents. So all up you are about 1000 times more likely to die in a car crash than by being bitten by a snake.

As for your kids, same as above, don’t let them go running off into the bush (or long grass) on their own. If you’re going to go for a country walk, keep your eyes peeled and your children close by. The bottom line is, snake deaths in Australia are extremely rare. Just stay alert when you are away from built up areas.

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BobinOz December 6, 2010 at 9:20 pm

Hi AussieMitch

Good to have you around and thank you for your compliments about my blog. Very interested to hear about your encounter with that red bellied black, we get them around here too although I’ve not yet seen one myself.

Which is a surprise, because where I live in western suburbs of Brisbane, snakes are currently rampant (according to reports), just like you say. And I spend a lot of time on acreage (not mine) and in the “long grass” and even for me, snake sightings are very rare. Although, having said that, I’ve seen two in the last couple of months.

I am quite interested in learning more about your “eyeball slow backwards cossack step” as this sounds like the sort of survival tip we all need to know. hehe!

cheers mate!

Bob

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AussieMitch December 7, 2010 at 8:33 am

GDay Bob, and all interested with “Snake Spotting’.

Was just thinking, as I write this, that in Australia “Snake Spotting” could possibly be easier than other searches. Ranging high up with Kangaroos ,Goanna’s, Wombats, Koalas right down to more obscure individuals’s such as “UFO’s” ?? Which I would have to put right down the bottom of the proverbial list? ; )
Without regressing anymore, I guess its all about timing and location, with the magnificent snake much more certain to be found sunning on a ledge, up a tree, floating past when in a boat or around long grass. Floods tend to bring out snakes also, as they are washed out of their home sweet home, just like the poor people being effected right now in flash flooding areas in Oz.
Lets hope that the SES is coping well with keeping these people safe, and as Aussies do, support those most in need.

ps. Bob the “eyeball, slow, backwards cossack step” SKILL is there always for any visits from my neighbourhood wild red belly black in the future. lol. ; )
All lawns and fence lines are mowed short for child, adult and domestic pet safety.

Cheers
Mitch

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BobinOz December 8, 2010 at 8:51 pm

Well I’ve been here three years and this is what I’ve spotted so far, in the wild of course. Top of the list is kangaroos, I reckon I’ve seen a dozen or more.

Second is snakes, I’ve seen six. Two were pointed out to me, otherwise I would have missed them. Two were in the road as I drove past. Then there was what I believed to be a green tree snake (harmless) that crossed my path in someone’s garden, and finally that small eastern brown (there is a link to it above in one of the earlier comments) which I took a video of.

Koalas, just one, and that was on Stradbroke Island. I got that on video too, you can see my koala sighting here.

No goanna’s, wombats or UFOs I’m afraid.

As for “eyeball, slow, backwards cossack step” – I tried to find out more about this skill by googling it. Top of the list was….. This post!

We really are the only people who know about it :-)

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russell coight February 25, 2014 at 4:20 pm

Interesting about your order of spotting list. I grew up in nsw and in the 27yrs I been here ive only seen 8 snakes in the wild, 2 within the hr in tazzy, a little red belly chasing a grass hopper and a few in south coast and blue mountains. Ive seen liturally 1000s of roos. 100 or so goannas on the south coast, 30 or so wombats. 2 koalas, 1 on the great ocean rd, and 20 or so sharks in western oz circling our 13ft tinny. I hope to see more snakes in the future

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BobinOz February 25, 2014 at 10:19 pm

Hi Russell

Well, it’s been three years since I wrote this, what can I add? Saw plenty of wombats in Tassie, and here in Brisbane a few more snakes, lots more roos but no more koalas and, unfortunately, still no goannas.

And I’ve just realised I forgot to mention that when I went to Uluru in May 2010, I saw camels and dingoes. I’m sure there is more, and maybe in three more years time remember those as well.

Cheers, Bob

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COL B. December 9, 2010 at 5:21 am

Hello Bob! Well it seems the top ten most venomous Snakes list l posted above is as out of date as to the book it came from was published in America in the year 2000 when technology/ research on this subject was then somewhat primitive. The list itself is now out of place.
After l spent months scouring the web, the majority of researchers and experts from many sites (l put it on an average scale) say that they concludes that Belcher’s Sea Snake carries the honor as the world’s most venomous, but not dangerous to Man due to sparse human populated areas; With the Fierce Snake and Eastern Brown carrying the honor as the world’s 1st and 2nd most venomous LAND Snakes respectively. Six of the top ten most venomous Snakes in the World are Australians.
The aggressive Eastern Brown has bitten more people in Australia than any other native Snake species due to close proximity to human populated areas, making it the most dangerous native Snake specie in the nation.
The Fierce Snake itself is not at all aggressive and are not dangerous to Man due to sparse human populated areas.

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Mike April 8, 2012 at 10:05 pm

I agree. You’d be hard pressed to find any 2 sites with the same ranking of “deadliness” where snakes are concerned. From my understanding the Eastern Brown, as you say, is the cause of the most serious bites. The snake in Austraila most likely to give a lethal bite on one on one encounters is the Coastal Taipan. The King Brown(technically in the black snake family) can deliver a large amount of venom per bite and some Tiger snakes and the Death Adder can be quite dangerous.

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BobinOz April 10, 2012 at 8:53 pm

Yes, the Eastern Brown is certainly responsible for the most deaths here in Australia. It’s not the most venomous here, I think that honour goes to the inland Taipan. It’s just that the Eastern Brown is more common in the most populated areas.

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Mike April 11, 2012 at 7:28 pm

Yes. The LD50 tests put the Inland Taipan as the land snake with the most toxic venom in the world.

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BobinOz April 12, 2012 at 8:43 pm

And they still have mice in the red centre. Just not as many as they probably would have had :-)

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COL B. December 9, 2010 at 5:58 am

… And Yeppon? I think Colleen meant ‘Yeppoon’. It’s a big town on the Qld coast near Rockhampton.

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Matt December 9, 2010 at 7:39 am

I have finals this week lol… Hence the long wait for the post.. I promise its coming soon through.. and yes it is ridiculously … I think I may have to edit some stuff out.. And unlike brodie and all the other Australian snake fan boys I am actullay going to provide evidence.. ie studies on bites from different types of snakes compared to Australian snakes and articles saying that different animals react way differently to different venoms hence why testing venoms on mice and then declaring those toxicity rating to be accurate in anything other than a mouse is just flat out wrong. So we know that australia has 6 of the top ten drop for drop toxic snakes to MICE but after I post their will be some doubt as to whether these values are significant and mean anything to humans. I clearly dont think they are but you will have to decide for yourself after I post my evidence.

On a totally unrelated note.. australian snakes also tend to have very small fangs and venom yields[ with the taipan and death adder being the exception] compared to snakes from elsewhere[ Asia/Africa/North America}. This of course has nothing to do with drop for drop potency but it should be nooted none the less

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AussieMitch December 9, 2010 at 1:12 pm

Hi Ya young Matty,

Hope your Finals are going well, 2010 schoolies are nearly finished till 2011. Bet your looking forward to relaxing and catching up with your group of friends and life in the real world after a big study year. : )
Your exuberance about drop by drop venom stats and snake facts are commendable.
Are you sure you aren’t that Snake boy/man from a show on TV the other night? He was so into snakes that he even looked like one, had the full dental and face work to ensure it.
Quite amazing what people will do for their obsessions.

Thats really putting your money where your fangs are Aye? ;)

Haven’t seen or heard from Brodie for a while but last I heard he was busy working hard with field research and has probably not had time to grace us with his fascinating work.
Its great to read how he has definitely been a great Role Model and Mentor for you.
Am sure that when he publishes, which we hope he does, that you will be enjoy the read.

Merry Xmas to you and everyone on the Blog.

AussieMitch

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BobinOz December 10, 2010 at 7:27 pm

Hi Col – bet none of the Aussie snakes make Matts top ten, from either the old list or the new one. We shall see.

AussieMitch – Brodie a role model to Matt? Were you grinning when you typed that?

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AussieMitch December 10, 2010 at 10:17 pm

Bob. I do my Best to keep the smiling gear working..it sure makes life easier.
cheers Mate.

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AussieMitch December 10, 2010 at 10:21 pm

Gotta say YES I was actually grinning Ear 2 Ear. ;) as I should ave been..Merry Xmas to you and your family my friend.

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BobinOz December 13, 2010 at 1:26 pm

Hey AussieMitch – I smile a heck of a lot more since I moved here, hard to be miserable with so much sunshine around. Cheers mate!

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COL B. January 3, 2011 at 6:49 pm

Hi Bob. Good new year wallowing in the floods of near Biblical proportions the size of NSW in QLD it seems! (no offence).
Down in Victoria we just survived floods and now it receded. We’ve had ten years of severe drought and hellish bushfires brought on by El Nino who refused to let his sister, La Nina, to bring rain to us until then. La Nina is so angry she let loose the biggest assault against him with series of downpours not seen in yonks of Generations. She actually put her Brother to sleep until the next round!.
Now this, she pushed slews of Snakes into populated coastline regions. Expect casualties to rise mostly from Eastern Brown Snakes and those Coastal Taipans, more so along most of the QLD seaboard.
In other news unrelated to said disaster, many of the web-sites put the Krait and Saw-Scaled Species – one or the other, or both – somewhere in the top ten (average different positions between fourth to seventh). Whereas two sites claim these two Asian Snakes are either in third and lower place, while one site claim second and lower place. They all confuse with one or two of these words “Most Poisonous”, Most Dangerous” or ‘Deadliest”. And, pretty much all based on Mice tests.

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COL B. January 3, 2011 at 7:11 pm

I near forgot to mention that some also use the word “Venomous”. And oh yes, one other web-site dealing in a top ten “Venomous” snakes seem strikingly familiar in which a number of its choice lines of explanatory words are identical to that of a certain commenter we’ve been debating with here on your site. Hmm…

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Colleen January 3, 2011 at 9:45 pm

No no no no no! Col B it’s Col D here: now I have this mental image of ten of the worlds deadliest snakes (in no particular order ;-)) swimming down my suburban street! Thanks for that picture. I normally give the snakes some thought when floods ravage us but I’d been spared it until your reminder – cheers mate! But aren’t you so right, it’s dreadful to think what mother nature has unleashed on Australia in the last couple of years. I also recall the in North Queensland, last year? (I’m wondering if it was Cyclone Larry?) where a young boy lost his life at the jaws of a crocodile who was flushed out of his natural environment due to floods. I’m still safely on the Gold Coast but Yeppoon is looking less and less inviting as Rockhampton’s river peaked today. We should be there by Easter and God help the snakes when I arrive (I’m only kidding snake lovers, I’m practicing how to avoid them by stomping very loudly whenever I’m in the vicinity of grass longer than 10inches!). But tell me, because I’m curious, when talking about the top 10 of venomous snakes, how much would the bite from number 1 differ from a bite from number 10. Cause I’m kinda thinking, if your a snake and you’re in the top 10 then that’s pretty much all that matters, the sign at the zoo says: Pseudonaja textilis, don’t fucis withis thisis snakis. You like my latin? Try this one: Cogita ante salis (this one is actually real and I found it while googling the latin term for the Eastern brown [seriously, you didn’t think I knew that did you?].). Anyway, translation for that last one is “look before you leap”. I found it appropriate. Thanks for keeping me informed snake lovers, I enjoy getting your updates even if it gives me the heebee jeebies. But I’m working on that. Happy New Year.

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Colleen January 3, 2011 at 9:46 pm

Oops, I forgot paragraphs.

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COL B. January 4, 2011 at 6:43 am

I would’nt worry too much, Col D, about having thoughts of the negative kind whether it be Cyclones or Wildlife. I’m sorry to leave you with those thoughts. As long as those of us know what Mother nature sporadically brings on and her resulting implications, we can safely be prepared for such measures.
It won’t hurt you as long as you are smart enough to avoid ahead.
It’s hard to tell any difference from which Snake bite in the top ten would be more potent than the other for human casualties. But one difference is that the word ‘venomous’ is not the same meaning as the word ‘dangerous’.
Snakes are shy creatures. They don’t go around chasing humans to bite, in fact they are rather afraid of us or not interested. They’re not trigger happy like a Port Arthur gun man or a monster from the Black Lagoon looking for us.
Let’s say l’m a Snake, here l am lying in the grass Suddenly l feel vibrations of approaching footsteps gradually getting louder and louder, coming my way, if it gets too loud it means l’m getting scared! “oh oh it sounds like a big monster” l hissed. So, l slither off the other way to escape. Had l not notice vibrations and l’m coiled up and been trodden upon my tail or body l would have yelped “OWWW!” and of course l would react and bite in defensive fright as if l’m being ‘attacked’ unless l understand the term ‘it’s an accident on the monster’s part’ which l doubt l’d have any concept of that meaning at all.
So there you have it, on the other hand, even if l bite you l would – when l’m aware of your sudden point blank approach or if you are handling me and l’m getting angry – in most cases, rarely inject any venom with my bite, it would only be a warning bite, is all.
But it’s still a puncture bite, it’s counted as a casualty as any other like from a non-poisonous Snake or even a Dog’s bite.
I’m not stopping you from going to beautiful Yeppoon, you really don’t have to worry about having second thoughts, and, Rockhampton’s flood-waters will start to recede by tomorrow. It’s not even like it’s going to happen like this every year in sunny QLD. On another note, Crocodile presence along the QLD central coast is extremely small where incidents involving humans around these parts are rarer than somebody in our country being struck by a peal of lightning bolt and pretty much as rare as being blocked enroute by a record over-the-top once-in-yonks Rockhampton flood. Not meaning to be sarcastic here, but it’s only just to use an example of the scale of things, is all.
By the way, i got a chuckle with your entry of latin “Pseudonaja textilis, don’t fucis withis thisis snakis”, l like that one.

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BobinOz January 4, 2011 at 11:17 pm

Cols B & D

Well, I got here too late. Seems like Col B has already put Col D’s mind at rest. Col B, I couldn’t have put it better myself.

Hopefully la Nina will be out of here by April and next year we all hope to see the return of El Nino. As Easter is not until almost the end of April this year, expect all that flooding to have subsided by then. Yeppoon will be lovely at that time of the year.

And as for your description from inside the mind of a snake about why he would want to bite a human in the first place, well, it’s spot on. It’s very rare that a snake would choose to waste their precious venom on a human, let alone bother to chase one. The idea of injecting venom (if I’m not mistaken) from a snake’s point of view is to firstly paralyse/kill its prey and secondly, prepare it for digestion. A bit like how our acid in our stomachs breaks food down.

But even the snake knows it can’t possibly eat a whole human!

See? As Col D says, I wouldn’t worry too much.

There. Sleepus wellus Colleen.

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COL B. January 5, 2011 at 12:20 pm

Just a little note here, Bob. El Nino usually arrives on average ev’ry five years, but over a period which varies from three to seven years>- Wikipedia.
But this time El Nino lasted Ten or Eleven years.

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BobinOz January 6, 2011 at 1:59 pm

FIVE YEARS!!! Are you sure? But I miss him already, I want him back now!

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COL B. January 7, 2011 at 10:13 am

Hi Bob. Just Google ‘El Nino in Australia’ and look for the one listed in Wikipedia or any of the listings concerning Australia.
Did you know that our citizens are divided favoring between El Nino and La Nina?
They both can be trouble when they get extreme in some of their cycles. For example, El Nino last time ’round caused everything to get very very thirsty on the land with little or no water and resulted in record destructive bush-fires.
La Nina is just as bad, in her case it’s big Floods.

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BobinOz January 7, 2011 at 12:57 pm

Yes, I did read up about it a while back. It was interesting to find that they have the opposite effect on the weather over the other side of the Pacific. For example, whilst El Nino is drying out the Australian soil, it can also cause major flooding in Peru and Ecuador.

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Colleen January 7, 2011 at 9:06 pm

Ah thanks guys, yes I know to be careful – always on the look out, we are about to start bushwalking with the three kids and being quiet is never a possibility with those three so I shouldn’t stress too much. The last snake I saw in the wild was not far from our house, crossing the road and sliding off into the scrub. To the untrained eye (that would be me) it looked like a diamond python (well it had diamonds on it). It was massive. We pulled over and watched him slither into the bushes, and he would’ve easily been over 2 metres long. I was driving my daughter home from school and he beat the school kids walking past by about 2 minutes. I do find them fascinating I just don’t want an unexpected scary encounter! Did you see this article on yahoo this week? Regarding the snakes up north? http://www.themorningbulletin.com.au/story/2011/01/05/snakes-alive-in-qld-flood-waters/
I reckon you guys will enjoy this! Thanks for the tips, again I really enjoy reading this forum. Cheers.

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Col B. January 7, 2011 at 11:50 pm

Well, l dunno how you guys want to put it. Would you’se want to be in South America? It would make no difference if you’re in Australia. I feel sorry for that country as much as the other. I feel that there should be another site on your blog, Bob, about this subject about droughts and floods, don’t you think? After all, it may have something to do with wildlife getting out of hand and un-blamed, well, you be the judge. I’m easy.

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Col B. January 7, 2011 at 11:54 pm

Colleen (Col d), mate Carpet Snakes are the least to worry about, it’s the venomous ones we should be aware of.

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BobinOz January 11, 2011 at 5:24 pm

No way would I want to be in South America, whether we had an El Niño or a la Nina, I’ll stay here thanks. And here in Brisbane, we are about to get bashed with the worst floods for nearly 40 years so there must be one heck of a drought going on over in Peru I would guess.

As for that article Colleen, whatever you do, remember the final comment, just in case you do come across a snake when you are in Yeppoon “…..and under no circumstances attempt to copy reptile handlers seen on television.”

So, don’t you go acting like as if you’re some kind of telly super snake catcher, will you?

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Colleen January 12, 2011 at 12:47 am

bahahaha, yeah thanks for the tip – cause that was bound to happen, me getting up close and personal with a reptile. Tell you what though, did you see the pick of the snake curled up on the top of a post at Esk in the flood pics? Just doing his best to survive. Also the green frog getting a piggy back on a snake. I’ve read tonight that animals often stick together in times of crisis, it’s inspiring to see. I hope you and your families are safe.

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Matt January 14, 2011 at 4:18 pm

Post coming tomorrow or sat.. I had a very unfortunate thing happen to me and kind of forgot about this debate. Anyway just real quick in reply to this from bob

“Hi Col – bet none of the Aussie snakes make Matts top ten, from either the old list or the new one. We shall see.”

Actullay no.. I have the taipans as number 1 of all snakes and I may put in another aussie snake as well through I’m going to do some more research as its not a snake I am entirely familiar with before putting it in.

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BobinOz January 15, 2011 at 8:00 pm

Colleen, of course I wouldn’t advise anyone to pick up a snake without proper training. But you can do a snake catching course for around $400 I believe. Fancy it?

And that nice kind snake giving a lift to the frog, doesn’t that just proves what easy going creatures they are?

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BobinOz January 15, 2011 at 8:01 pm

Matt, yeah, we’ve had one or two unfortunate things happen here as well.

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Matt January 20, 2011 at 3:05 pm

Ok I promise this will be the late procrastination from me… Post coming tomorrow.. However before I put up my huge post I found something that was interesting that I will post now about the ld50tests

http://web.linkny.com/~civitas/page342.html

And remember the ld50 tests for snake venom were ONLY done on mice… No other animals were used except mice..So its not even an animal vs human toxicity issue its a mice vs all other animals vs humans issue.

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Adrianus Hendrik van Herp March 6, 2011 at 5:51 pm

First prize for the lowest remark goes to the host for trying to smear Matt with the ‘racist’ tag.

It does not come lower than that.

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Col B. March 6, 2011 at 8:16 pm

Adrianus Hendrick van Herp – I don’t think so.
The poster’s (not the host) personality in an earlier but insulting angry post (before the host’s remark in question) seem to carry or reflect a hint of possible racism in it.
The host’s very same thought crossed my mind (as a reader) myself even before the host posted the remark.

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Adrianus Hendrik van Herp March 7, 2011 at 7:26 am

If you want to beat a dog you can always find a stick. Matt speaking the truth about Australians makes him a racist? You can’t even read. Look at my name.

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AussieMitch March 7, 2011 at 4:57 pm

GDay Bob and everyone.
So glad you and so many friends are safe in QLD after all of the last few mths horrific events. Much love and support to those still having a hard time and of course caution is still in the wind as Cyclone season hasn’t finished yet up north.

Always enjoy this blog, most especially since it’s frequented by Aussies and International friends all over the world.
It’s amusingly absurd for anyone, trolls or black snakes to infer racism on this blog.
We enjoy any colour, type and sex of all snakes and humankind. There has even been a few UFO’s welcomed.
As long as your friendly, enjoy a logical debate or just have your own opinion , it’s All Great here.
Humour is very welcome, as is great conversation and sharing of stories.
That’s my Aussie Attitude and I believe political correctness is over rated! Respect is the way Bob and all friends worldwide on this blog Socialize!!
No other correspondence necessary or wanted on such absurdity.
Cheers to that.
Best wishes to all.

Cheers for that.

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Adrianus Hendrik van Herp March 7, 2011 at 5:28 pm

I agree with you AussieMitch!!

The most important parts are the ‘have your own opinion’ and, of course ‘humour’

Cheers from Gorokan NSW

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BobinOz March 7, 2011 at 9:08 pm

Adrianus

As you have read and studied all of the 74 comments made in this thread before you added yours, I would have thought you might have noticed the debate is about snakes.

Then you come along and your first ever comment on my blog is attempting to revive a little bit of a spat from more than four months ago. For the way Matt spoke about Australians in general, he deserved me suggesting he was “probably racist”.

But that was a long time ago, I’m over it and Matt’s over it.

So why are you dragging it all up again? What’s the point?

Then Col B adds one one tiny little small c in the spelling of your name and you insult him with your second ever comment on this blog.

Your comments add absolutely nothing to the debate here and they only serve to seek trouble, comfortably proving that remarks do “come lower than that”. You’ve made two of them already.

If you want to continue commenting on my blog, be polite, be friendly and discuss the subject of the post, otherwise your comments will not be welcome.

Bob

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Mike August 29, 2011 at 1:24 am

Hi. I agree that bringing up past unpleasantries in comments is pointless. I’m new to your post and enjoyed it. I replied to a post by Matt and Brodi and welcome any thoughts, research, etc. form all who study these impressive and often misunderstood animals. Your blog is top notch!!!!

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BobinOz August 29, 2011 at 10:03 pm

Thanks Mike, it’s appreciated.

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Colleen March 7, 2011 at 9:51 pm

Well said Bob! If this was Facebook I’d click “like”. And back to snakes. Visited David Fleay’s Wildlife Sanctuary on the Gold Coast last week – was disappointed to see the snake enclosure dilapidated and empty (well in it’s state of dilapidation I’m hoping it’s empty of it’s former residents). Anybody know what happened there? A few people I’ve spoken to were surprised the park was still even trading. It was a very cheap alternative to Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary for a day out with the kids (at the very least a nice walk with the kids with the bonus of native animals along the way).

Still no snake sightings here on the coast all summer (er, for me anyway). I hear there have been a few Brown Snake sightings in Surfers though which apparently should come as no surprise.

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Colleen March 7, 2011 at 9:55 pm

While I’m here – a bit of debate going on round our parts and I need some help to shut it down. Venomous snakes mating with one another (ie different species)? Brown getting it on with a Red Belly and so on….does it happen? I have it on good authority that it’s like dogs mating with cats. Rumour also has it that you can’t trust the bite of a python, that they too are gettin busy with the venomous snakes. Tell the people this is not true…..

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Gordon March 7, 2011 at 11:33 pm

Colleen , all the diversity on this planet had to come about somehow…………….. ;-)

Seriously , pythons while not venomous per se , can have a nasty bite prone to infection. They may also have a chemical make up of their saliva which inhibits healing of a wound from a bite.

The worst of the reptiles in that regard is arguably the Komodo dragon in Indonesia , a monitor lizard closely related to Australias’ goannas .

Coming back to the snakes , I would never kill a red belly black , they are known to eat baby browns ( which I’m VERY wary of in adult form ) and the Red belly while capable of envenomating prey , will often deliver a closed mouth strike
as a warning if it’s in defensive mode .

Pythons breeding with other species , doubtful , even more doubtful that the pairing would result in viable offspring .

I’m no geneticist but as an example , a horse can mate with a donkey and produce a mule which is infertile.

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Gordon March 8, 2011 at 12:05 am

I just went back and read Bobs O.P. , and regarding this –

“Australia’s snakes rarely envenom when biting defensively. Envenomation occurs in less than 1 in 10 bites. They prefer to hit you with a warning.”

Sorry Bob , but DO NOT rely on that advice where Browns are concerned , they are seriously dangerous snakes , a bite from a Brown will most often envenomate and while they don’t account for many human deaths statistically , they have dropped many a dog. Human survivors often have to deal with the rigours of tissue necrosis , survival has a price too.

It is a rare event and a low risk overall though , that is true.

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Adrianus Hendrik van Herp March 8, 2011 at 7:36 am

Thanks Bob,

You have a bite like a snake.

And a mean streak in your character without even trying to adjust or to learn from your mistake.

But you can jump up and down, a racist smear, even if only implied is like mud, a bit always sticks.

That was my point.

You may not have any pride in your name but I do, my parents gave it to me and Anglo-Saxons never bother to look at a foreign language.

In addition, you tell me to buzz off but you told Mat also’ we don’t want you here’.

Used to getting your own bites?

BYE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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AussieMitch March 8, 2011 at 8:06 am

Interesting post about cross species breeding of venomous snakes or any snake I suppose?
Would have been a study somewhere one could suggest.
Mother Nature has it’s own rules, and I would assume only viable genetics survive and prosper. (TY Spock)

Dogs species genes have been tampered with and intermixed since the beginning of time I suppose.
Snakes cross breeding had never crossed my mind.

Interesting topic and idea Colleen.
As Gordon implied it seems not viable.
From past visits to Zoos and Reptile parks, my beliefs were that different types of snakes are kept separated so they didn’t kill each other?

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Adrianus Hendrik van Herp March 8, 2011 at 9:06 am

I read a book “Down among the wild man” or near enough. It’s over 20 years ago that I read it. It was written by an American anthropologist. He stated that he laughed when he saw people in the bush with boots up to the knee as there is a brown snake which can roll itself into a hoop, jump over your head and strike you two or three times while he is at it.
Of course it is easy to laugh at and dismiss but think about it. Has ever inch of Australia been visited by people? Have we observed everything which happens? It is only a few years ago that a pine tree was discovered only 100 miles from Sydney. It was thought to have been extinct.
Once I walked with my wife near Victoria Falls. She told me to stop with a voice I always obey.
She showed me a little white snake, maybe just came into this Vale of Tears. I tried to pick it up but my hand was still some distance away when it stood on its tail and was ready to bite . lol

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AussieMitch March 8, 2011 at 10:33 am

Yes the venomous brown snake can and will spring launching itself whenever in fear or hunger..
Decades ago when I worked in the Forestry Service of NSW, we saw lots of Browns and heard lots of stories about their athletic abilities.
As a group we rode on a staff bus up to Dingo Tops which is located near Gloucester NSW.
As junior workers back then, one our job was to brush hook and reduce vegetation around all the winding roads so drivers had better vision of oncoming log trucks and other vehicles.
We most commonly saw lots of large Diamond pythons in the underbrush, most were lazily coiled resting and digesting their dinner. Browns which are much smaller were generally slithering away from any human interaction, they just wanted to get on with their day.
None of these were ever aggressive to us, to be honest most generally none of any snake species were aggressive.
If people tried to handle them,catch them or hunt them, then thats when bites happened.
Browns were seen a lot wrapped around the block of someones motor and caught up under parked trailers and vehicles. (more agile and athletic, suggests they were more adventurous hunting for food in the strangest places?)

The leaches were the most aggressive!! Always came home with a boot full…we had salt in our packs..but I used to “hit em with the good ol Pea Bo.. ;)

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Adrianus Hendrik van Herp March 8, 2011 at 11:38 am

Thank you very much for this comment AussieMitch. For all those years I have been wondering. I am 76 and spend a lot of time reading books from Project Gutenberg which is a goldmine of information.
I read a book there and I can’t remember the title exactly, it was about 2 Yanks ( their word and proud of it ) and I checked what they wrote on the Internet. I am a Skeptic and then some. But everything checked out. The name of the Governor, the date of the Eureka Stockade and things which happened there but are practically unknown at large. But like the story of the brown snake hooping, I came across a story of snakes in that book which I find incredible. The snake can only be the carpet snake and they say they went to a place where there were hundreds of them. Of course we must remember that this is some time ago and that we have killed a lot. In my ignorance and fear generated by lousy stories about snakes I drove over a carpet snake in Queensland and to make sure I backed up and drove over him twice more. Nothing like making sure. But I feel very guilty and am ashamed. This is a kind of catharsis for me!! Back to the book, the author stated that a snake wrapped himself like lightning around a man and kept on biting and hitting out at rescuers with his big fangs. The man was finally dis-entangled and they consoled him but he said he would die because no person could survive such a crushing without his internal organs being completely damaged. I wonder what your opinion is, or maybe someone else. I really would like to know.

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BobinOz March 8, 2011 at 9:40 pm

Colleen

Not sure what happened to David Fleay’s Wildlife Sanctuary and not only that, but I’ve never been. Is it any good? Interesting thoughts about the snake crossbreeding though, Gordon and AussieMitch have pretty much covered it.

I think it may be possible between genetically similar breeds, but not a venomous snake with a nonvenomous snake. I read somewhere that the python and an Eastern Brown are as different as say, a dog and a cat. There is probably a huge stigma in the snake world stops them from even attempting this sort of thing as well. “Your seeing a red-bellied black! How could you?”

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BobinOz March 8, 2011 at 9:41 pm

Gordon

If you are absolutely right to pull me up on the 10% envenomation claim, I have now updated the post as I do not wish to mislead anyone. Thank you.

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BobinOz March 8, 2011 at 9:44 pm

Adrianus

You are sorely testing my patience. I have a delete button and I’m not afraid to use it! Calling me mean is rich coming from you. I asked you to be polite and friendly and you reply by insulting me on about 5 different levels.

Anymore trouble making from you and all your comments will be removed. The rules are simple, I’ll say them one more time. Be polite, be friendly and discuss the subject of the post, otherwise it will be goodbye.

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Adrianus Hendrik van Herp March 9, 2011 at 7:52 am

This posters latest two comments, which were both, once again, insulting on a personal level, have been removed for failing to observe the simple request to be polite, friendly and discuss the subject of the post.

ALL future comments from this person will also be removed.

Note from BobinOz:

Whilst I would truly love to engage in long, lengthy and pointless personal debates with commenters who appear to have little interest in discussing the content of the post, I do feel it does rather ruin the user experience of those who are here to talk about life in Australia or, as in the case of this post, snakes.

Normal service will now, hopefully, be resumed.

Thank you.

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Gordon March 9, 2011 at 9:27 pm

Quick bit of commentary based on life experience , more than 50 years in Oz and 25 of those years spent working at sea on trawlers , mainly in tropical Australian waters during the fishing seasons and the rest on land in various parts of Queensland and NSW.

I have personally known 3 people bitten by sea snakes , all survived with no long term effects and I have probably tossed hundreds of them back into the sea , alive , from the sorting trays of the vessels , while they have a potent venom , they are a really placid animal , I have even seen them while diving in years gone by , they are very unthreatening but I treat them with a great deal of respect.

I also used to spend a lot of time barefoot up North in bush country , and you get into the habit of looking where your feet are going next as well as further afield.

I’ve never even come close to being bitten , and if I do see a snake , I move out of its way and respect its’ right to live.

I was at small social gathering near Cooktown years ago on the back patio ( ground level ) when a snake was spotted close and headed towards the seated group , the host simply said “don’t move your feet” ( we were all seated ) and the snake simply wound its way through and carried on to parts unknown. No problem at all.

Adrianus made reference above to the Hoop snake . These do not exist in Australia.

I once spent a year working in New Zealand and the number of Kiwis who expressed fear of Aussie snakes ( and spiders ) quite frankly made me laugh , this is a country that sent 100,000 troops to fight in WW1 from a population of 1 million !

apart from snakes , let’s see how we compare to other parts of the world ( in the wild ) –

Tigers – 0
Lions – 0
Pumas , cougars , lynxs , panthers , etc. – 0
Bears – 0 ( but do research Dropbears ;-) 0
Vampire bats – 0
Hippos – 0
Tarantulas – 0

But what we do have is best in it’s class ( we’re proud like that )

White Pointers
Box Jellyfish
Irukanji Jellyfish
Saltwater Crocs
Pauline Hanson

I hope that adds some perspective from a local point of view :-)

Bob , that quote is so true – “There was an interesting quote on the show from Bruce himself. He said “Snakes don’t bite – people get bitten.”

Cheers all.

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deborah September 6, 2011 at 8:21 am

Hi guys, just wanted to leave a little comment on this post.. Australia does have at least 6 species of tarantulas, and it is thought that there are many more unidentified ones around. I have had them indoors often and they are bigger than a man’s hand, massive! They live in burrows as they are an old world spider and they do have massive fangs, some even ‘sing’!
I have had a lot to do with sea snakes too, although highly venomous, their fangs are not able to grab very well, being further back in the mouth, they are very playful in the water, and curious, not something to worry about at all. We also have a shark cage and did years of white pointer dives off Neptune Island, I completely agree with the 5 nasties mentioned above LOL, but will add Julia Gillard!
Deborah,.

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BobinOz September 7, 2011 at 7:35 pm

Hi Deborah

Yes, you are right, I just checked it out. Apparently, 10,000 of them are captured from the wild in Queensland alone each year and sold on as pets. So they are now a threatened species.

Thanks for pointing it out, seems I will need to write a post about them.

Interesting about those sea snakes as well, someone else mentioned that they’d untangled many a sea snake from their fishing nets without ever coming to harm. They sound nice :-)

As for Julia Gillard, she can replace the now quiet Pauline Hanson on that lists for me. But it’s probably not long now before Ms Gillard goes quiet as well.

Cheers!

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Colleen March 9, 2011 at 11:19 pm

lmao…drop bears…

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AussieMitch March 10, 2011 at 7:27 am

The Sensual Snake’s Tongue

Why does a snake stick out it’s Tongue?

Here is Your Answer!
Snakes don’t sting or use their forked tongues as weapons. The tongues are perfectly harmless.

A snake sticks out its tongue to collect data for its Jacobson’s Organ, an organ strategically located in front of the roof of the snake’s mouth that functions as a chemical receptor. Each and every time the snake flicks out its forked tongue, it snares chemical particles in the air, which latch onto, or dissolve in, the moisture of the snake’s tongue. Once the snake reels in its tongue, it inserts the tips of the forked tongue into the two awaiting openings of the Jacobson’s organ where the particles, especially those of animal body odors, are identified, analyzed, and acted upon.

For the male snake, the tongue is both a sensory organ, and a sensual organ. The tongue plays a vital role in snake courtship and reproduction, as the male snake’s jerking body motions and rapidly flicking tongue either charm the female snake, or render her unresponsive. In either instance, by sticking out their tongues, snakes ensure the survival of the species.

So folks keep those tongues in your mouth :)
Who knows what snakes or drop bears could lurching on your next bushwalking expedition.? ;)

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Col B. March 10, 2011 at 4:36 pm

Hey old codger, your wishing for a tall story about Carpet Snakes going as far as what you said?

You wish it to be true?

As far as a bunch of swagmen at the campfire go, eggpans and billycans talking up myths to impress. Another jolly swagman drops in with a sheep in his tuckerbag and said “Nay, I did ‘nt steal it!”. Stories like this sticks from out there in the outback, eh?

More humourous-rumourus than fact.

Other than that, the ankle-biting antics is no doubt just as non-sensical as a school bully’s words are. Or just an outburst of a whinging arrogant nerd….

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BobinOz March 11, 2011 at 5:17 pm

So true Gordon, all of it. Although we nearly lost Pauline Hanson to the UK, then she went there, saw what the UK looked like, and stayed here.

As for your “stay still” message, I’d heard that too and have written about it on one of my other posts about snakes, which you can read by clicking this link to one of my other posts about snakes. But in it, I said….

This one is easier said than done; if you are within striking distance of a snake, it is probably better to stand still. Snakes only react to movements, so if you stay still it will ignore you. It may even just slither straight over your foot.

cheers

Bob

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BobinOz March 11, 2011 at 5:20 pm

Colleen

Sounds like we can’t get you with the drop bear thing then….

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BobinOz March 11, 2011 at 5:21 pm

AussieMitch and Col B – I’m still trying to think up a snake story to outdo you.

I’ll be back!

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Colleen March 11, 2011 at 7:46 pm

So excited! Snake sighting today! Well, kind of…..I had to pull the car over today to chat on the phone and on my left was scrub, on my right residential. About ten metres ahead of me on the scrub side, (but with footpath and well tended nature strip, mown etc) I could see one of those little birds that look like a magpie but aren’t (???) AND a snake, it was raised up so I could only see the head and some neck (???body) but it was just slightly over a small ridge. It seemed to be going in the opposite direction of the bird though the bird was very interested in the snake! So I drove up to see if I could get a better look and it just slid off into the sunset (er, scrub)! I was so close to getting out of the car and walking over but I got chicken.
I have no idea what it was BUT from what I could see it looked very light in colour almost yellow or creamish (?brown)!
Ok so I know not THAT exciting but it’s the best I can do!

Still no drop bears though….

Col D

Charter boat…..what charter boat…

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russell coight February 25, 2014 at 4:58 pm

These cute birds are called a magpie-lark :)

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BobinOz March 14, 2011 at 5:13 pm

Fantastic! Was that your first ever live wild sighting?

Judging by the bravery of that little bird and from the yellow or creamish description, I’m guessing you may have seen a green tree snake. They are greenish on top but underneath their bodies they are more yellowy cream-ish, and that’s the part I think you were looking at.

Green tree snakes are quite harmless to humans and are non-venomous. They eat frogs, lizards and geckos, but I’m not sure they’d take on a bird. Whereas a Brown certainly would.

Hey, brave you too for ‘thinking’ of getting out. And even smarter for not doing so, after all, we really don’t know what it was and……..

No, no need for graphic details.

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BobinOz April 3, 2011 at 8:33 pm

Hi Colleen

An update on your snake sighting. Does it look like the snake featured in my video Snake in the House? And yes, I really did have a snake in my house, and I video’d it all.

Cheers

Bob

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AussieMitch April 4, 2011 at 9:44 am

GDay Bob, finally had time to watch your video of your housesnake. :)
I think you need to Caption it!
Snake : WINNING
Bob and Broom : LOSING
Was very so funny to watch, that lil snake has a broom phobia.
I enjoyed watching it mate.
Just don’t let it fall into the hands of the RSPCA. ;)
The snake sure moved when it finally got outside!! Hehe
Where was everyone ? You needed a camera director and snake trainer.. For your Video .

Cheers for catching it on video
Will send you a pic of another snake my partners grandson owns.

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BobinOz April 4, 2011 at 11:38 pm

Hi AussieMitch

I have to to say I didn’t think he would be as stubborn as he was. I thought one shove towards the door and he’d be gone, I wasn’t counting on him keep coming back at me to have a pop. I’m glad it made you laugh, it makes me laugh too when I watch it. And I was there the first time!

Everyone else was out of the house, just little old me and the dog. I put him in the office. Anyway, I didn’t hurt the little fella, I’m sure the RSPCA won’t be coming after me. If they do, I’ve got a broom!

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AussieMitch April 5, 2011 at 8:57 am

Hey Bob,
Would think that you deserve an Award from the RSPCA for being the safest and most careful snake catcher in Oz. ;)
Snakes are as scary as firewalking to lots of people..
My phobia is Sharks.. ewww
Years ago I dived off a big wharf, no biggy.. except THAT on the day there was a big fishing contest.(Boats everywhere).
As I descended into the blue water I ended up eyeballing and almost hugging a huge bloody shark with a million teeth.
It had been tied deep to the wharf awaiting the weigh in. :0
The fisherman (when they stopped laughing) said they wished that they had got a video of me walking on water. lol
Your broom would have come in handy on that day too Bob!!!

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BobinOz April 6, 2011 at 11:43 pm

My broom versus a million shark teeth? If I’d have lent it to you, I would have wanted you to promise to look after it. I don’t think you could’ve guaranteed that.

Anyway, shark is not a phobia surely? Spider is. Heights is. But, say, fear of lions, that isn’t a phobia either, is it?

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Col B April 7, 2011 at 1:18 am

Got a chuckle with your comment, Bob, and l’d have your broom if it’s magical and could fly like a Peregrine Falcon or can scoot underwater like a torpedo for AussieMitch to make a clean getaway from a million pursuing carnivorous Pteradactyls or a million hungry snapping shark teeth… My phobias are Cauliflower, Broccoli and the most dangerous lifeform of them all, a minority of men called Serial Killers coz they are nearer than anything else! Sense?

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BobinOz April 7, 2011 at 1:41 pm

Makes sense to me, and worse, you never know what a serial killer looks like until it’s too late! At least a snake looks like a snake and a shark a like a shark.

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Kath April 8, 2011 at 11:23 pm

Hey Bob,

Thanks for the snake info and comments. I am really phobic about snakes, ever since I was a kid in the UK and a couple of huge (but harmless) grass snakes scared the life out of me on a picnic. I start to get all worried about snakes every time we’re due to go camping soon (love the fire and the stars though, so go anyway!). Your snake facts make me feel a bit less worried though. Knowledge dispels fear and all and I’m really trying not to demonise snakes so much. I am actually yet to see one since I arrived in Australia a couple of years ago, but then I am a deliberately stompy bush walker (unforunately probably miss a lot of other wild life I would like to see that way though!). I think your comments about snake deaths being more common in the US are a bit misleading though, obviously they have a much bigger population which probably explains the higher snake bite death rate. That said though I spent three months in Michigan and saw snakes quite regularly on the road at night and, like I said, I am yet to see a snake here in OZ. So maybe they do have more snakes over there. Or maybe US snakes are bolder.

Anyway, cheers again for the snake facts, like I say they are quite reasurring.

Katherine

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BobinOz April 9, 2011 at 2:28 am

It’s always going to be difficult when you have a genuine phobia about snakes. What can you do about it? Well, you could always go and live in Norway! Too cold for me. Anyway, just kidding.

So if you choose Australia, I think the facts are quite simple. About two people a year, on average, die from snakebites in this country. The population is 20 million. So each year you have a one in 10 million chance of getting nailed.

That’s not too bad is it?

And those odds can double to about a 20 million in one chance if you are not a snake handler, or don’t take on a snake when you’ve had a few drinks. Gets better, doesn’t it?

You’re right about America, they do have about 15 times Australia’s population but only about five times as many deaths from snake bites.

But snakes do try and keep themselves to themselves and as you say, you haven’t seen one yet. I hope, for you, that continues. I love it when I see one, never thought about them in England, fascinated by them here.

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Col B. April 9, 2011 at 12:17 am

America’s snakebite rate would not compare to – in densely human populated term – South East Asia and India where Snakebites occur more frequently by a long way.

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BobinOz April 9, 2011 at 2:30 am

Nor Australia’s, do you agree with what I said above about US v Aus on snake deaths?

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Colleen May 18, 2011 at 11:00 pm

I had to laugh at Kath, I feel exactly the same way as you do! I am intrigued by snakes and terrified of them all at the same time. And I’m a stompy but careful bush walker that loves camping. My family and I have just taken up bushwalking and 4wd-ing since moving to central Queensland last month (ok, so we’ve been on one bushwalk), but I felt more at ease because of the time of year! Looking forward to going camping as well but I must say the camp sites here are little more roughing it than where I am from, lots of scrub around which makes me wonder what could be in there. Apparently we’re in croc territory too! Gotta love living in oz!

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BobinOz May 20, 2011 at 4:47 pm

Stomping is a great technique to put off snakes, I thoroughly recommend it for bush walks. But of course, when you get close to a billabong or any kind of water, stomping is a great way to let the local crocodile know you’re entering HIS territory.

What to do, what to do?

As you say Colleen, ‘Gotta love living in oz!’

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Col B May 20, 2011 at 10:31 pm

I walk with a big stick (or staff) that sends good enough ground vibrations – with each walking stride – for Snakes to be aware of. Foot-stomping is tiring and impacts on bone joints. By the way, Did Colleen mean ‘Central Qld’ as in geographical, or did she mean as in political? I think she meant ‘Central Coast Qld’? Bob, yes I do agree with you on the US v Aus matter, I did not doubt you. Also, I did’nt warm to the way the ‘old codger’ (whom I mentioned in an earlier post) kept biting at your heals like a nasty disobedienced Terrier!.

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BobinOz May 23, 2011 at 5:36 pm

Hi Col B

Walking with a stick, that’s a better idea. Although assuming most women weigh at least 50 kg and us blokes about 80 kg, (or more), I would think that just walking normally would send out a good enough vibration fore most snakes. Especially if you’re in a small group. Would that be true?

I think Colleen has actually moved to central Queensland, remember she was talking about moving to Yeppoon a while back. And as for the old codger, yes, quite impossible to warm to him. Rottweiler more like!

Cheers

Bob

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Colleen May 23, 2011 at 7:56 pm

Hey Bob,

Yes Yeppoon it is. Which in actual fact is Central QLD coast. The locals seem to be quite proud of that. I was having a chat with my neighbour the other day, having moved here in April and being surrounded by scrub (as I mentioned), asked him if he’s seen many snakes. He said he’s only seen a couple (only!) but that’s because his block backs onto big empty lot.

I’m quite concerned because the neighbour behind me has quite a lot of debris in his backyard, and I have three small kids running around the backyard. Apparently old mate has always lived like this (since the mid-90’s according to the locals) so don’t know yet how pursuasive I can be to have him clean it up before my first summer here. Credit where credit is due though, he did begin to mow the lawn (and I use the term lawn loosely) the other day. I don’t know if he ran out of fuel or maybe he just couldn’t be bothered because he just mowed a big circle in the middle of it and then proceeded to drive his remote control car in it. Well, I guess that will scare away the snakes!

I’m certain I’ll get a few in my backyard, I’ve got more trees than I ever had on the Gold Coast and I must say I welcome any of the non-venomous varieties, but I also get a lot of birds so I’m looking more forward to seeing one fly through the air in a kookaburras beak!

And since it’s that time of year, go the Blues!

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BobinOz May 27, 2011 at 5:21 pm

Oh, unlucky Blues, mahahaha!

Always a good night out down the sports and rec. as i’ve only been here for 4 Origins, never seen the Maroons lose. Hehe!

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Colleen June 2, 2011 at 7:35 pm

Ah, you haven’t lived if you haven’t seen QLD loose, it is truly a sight to behold. They’re as bad at losing as they are at winning. And it’s truly a joyous moment when the blues get up! Still two to go, it’s not over yet!

.

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BobinOz June 6, 2011 at 12:39 am

Yes, well, one day. I’m a patient man, I’m prepared to wait…..

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Colleen June 6, 2011 at 8:26 am

You need patience to be a blues supporter. A decade ago you didn’t, but these days….

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BobinOz June 6, 2011 at 1:41 pm

I’ll look it up in the history books….

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COL B. May 23, 2011 at 8:11 pm

Bob,that’s what I might’nt have thought, Crocs in Central Qld!. Maybe smaller freshwater species. Anyway, on the the walking staff vs feet, bush-boots are are fine if you’re walking normally. Thongs, runners or barefoot not so. You see, the very light pit-pats of the latter three is an indication of a light prey. A group of people together without boots makes numerous crowdy pit-pats so Snakes are at least either observing the going-ons or are cautious, or both. Also, take into account that out of a streetblock of people, there are some who are either deaf, or disabled with any kind of physical or mental deficiencies, this is the same for Snakes likewise. A Snake in a paddock of dozen other Snakes would be partly or mostly vibration-deaf would’nt know any better, is a dangerous one, for instance.

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Colleen May 23, 2011 at 9:29 pm

I really don’t want to think about a paddock with a dozen snakes in it. Ew.

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Colleen May 23, 2011 at 9:30 pm

And perhaps I should rethink my choice of shoes…..

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COL B. May 23, 2011 at 10:38 pm

Oh, it’s just an expression to give an idea to what I mean, is all. I now just realized that writing something could probably have another meaning to it. If anyone out there reading my previous post here, that you’re thinking there’s a dozen of them in a paddock, don’t despair. Only in isolated patches, like one or two cow paddocks somewhere or elsewhere ten hills away but rarely on a standard urban house backyard. Sure, at times you may see one or two in your yard if you’re in close proximity to wildlife areas. A yard that is overgrown and littered with debris or full of things attracts Rats, Mice and Lizards etc in turn attracts Snakes. That lazy person next door to you seem to carelessly know no better than to see your point. If he refuses to do something about his yard then you must complain to the Council of your Shire. Rightly so where curious kids who resides in close proximity of the danger is concerned. I was a curious kid, I used to get into exploring around my yard a lot.

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Colleen June 2, 2011 at 7:35 pm

Don’t worry Col B, I knew you weren’t be too literal about it. I’m not expecting to run into a (new question forming, what does one call a group of snakes?), er, group of snakes in every paddock, just having a laugh that’s all. Still I am mindful of them and don’t want to run into any. The back neighbour has half mowed his law, turned it into a lovely little track for his RC car. Super fun listening to that! The rest of it remains untouched wilderness. Excellent. Will definitely be approaching him soon and see where we go from there

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BobinOz May 25, 2011 at 6:21 pm

My mistake Col B, I misread it. I knew Colleen was thinking of moving to Yeppoon but thought she’d gone central instead. So, no crocs down that way yet you say? They are coming further south, any locals had any sightings Colleen? There was a croc in the hotel car park of Ingham during the floods the other year. That’s only 600 km north. So give it time :-)

Thanks for clearing up the pitter patter of feet, but at 6 foot two and around 90 odd kg I don’t think I will be mistaken for light prey. But that is a serious point and we need to be vigilant for our children.

As for your man with the rubbish in the backyard Colleen, I remember when I first arrived here my back garden had been neglected for five months by the previous owners and was like a jungle. It wasn’t small either. Each weekend, bit by bit, I was making my way through it with my whippersnipper. After about five weeks I was two thirds of the way up when a letter arrived from the council.

The neighbour behind me had written to complain of the dangers of “my overgrown vegetation attracting dangerous snakes” and I was told to deal with it immediately. I am dealing with it, I thought!

So don’t feel too bad about complaining, my neighbour didn’t.

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Paul Rawlinson June 10, 2011 at 6:31 am

Just a quick note on statistics Bob, your original ‘sample’ showed that less than 1 in 10 bites was envenoned’. This is probably across all venemous species’ bites. You then got figures for the most aggressive biters of 20%-80%+. However these are only responsible for a portion of the bites. There will be venemous snakes that hardly ever envenon. you don’t need many at zero % to bring the average waaaay down. So your original statistic as a look at the general snake population is probably true.

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BobinOz June 10, 2011 at 10:27 pm

Hi Paul

I suppose like all things of this nature, it depends who you read. I’ve seen research that suggests one in 10 bites and also research that says 20% to 80%. But people do experiments and get different results. I added the update because if there is a possibility that envenomation is at a higher rate, I don’t want to mislead anyone.

I would think we would all prefer the lower figure and hopefully that is the correct one. So I hope you are right.

Cheers

Bob

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Keith July 6, 2011 at 3:58 am

I used to love Bruce’s show “Snakebuster”; unfortunately, some opportunistic snake fancier liked the sound of the word and copyrighted it for his own company, so now Bruce lists himself as the Snake Crusader! He’s the genuine article, truly passionate, and unlike some TV hosts, doesn’t just maul animals for dramatic effect, all the while saying “Ooh, he’s getting cranky, don’t like that do ya, mate?” and such nonsense. He treats the animals with respect. On one of his shows, a professional snake handler was bitten by a large brown while preparing to milk it. The man died shortly after. Bruce thoughtfully secured the snake and placed it back in its enclosure while they waited for medical help. Hope to see his show again and love your site!

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BobinOz July 7, 2011 at 2:17 pm

Hi Keith

I couldn’t agree more. There really is nothing about Bruce that is fake, unlike many of the other showman like presenters out there. He is just a genuine snake lover and he obviously cares greatly for all animals.

I’m also looking forward to seeing him back on TV, I hope it happens soon.

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Deborah July 11, 2011 at 1:52 pm

Love snakes, but not around my dogs!
Col D..love your posts!! I’ve been laughing out loud, very funny!xxx

We see many snakes every ‘season’ and I guess as it never gets to hibernation temperatures here we are never really out of season although winter does see a drop in sightings. I’ve seen a couple of dozen this year. I adore pythons, had one in our roof for 10 years and she had babies a few times and was always a lady! very very sweet, except when catching prey…I try not to think about that bit!!! also very large. I have many photos of her.
I recently did get bitten by a python, it was hungry and ‘made a mistake’ LOL so I had to have antibiotics and a tetanus shot but the bite itself did not hurt at all.
I’ve not killed a snake and don’t think I could. We’ve had a few taipans, red bellies, whips and browns this year. Often in the pool so I have to ‘net’ them out. Never have any been aggressive and tey cannot wait to hide. On KI we had many tiger snakes, also not aggressive. Snake avoidance is common sense stuff although I’m sure there are those EEEK moments when things go wrong. I’ve had a lot of encounters with sea snakes too as another poster mentioned. even if they ‘bite’ you would be OK as their fangs are far back in their mouths. You would be super unlucky to be poisoned. They are really beautiful creatures and so graceful.
I don’t think aussies ‘promote’ the dangerous snake thing at all?? (think it was Matt who said this) . It’s usually the other way around, a non aussie will go on about the snakes and biteys etc. while Aussies dont even think about it at all.
The only time I think about it is when I’m running my dogs as it freaks me out that they could get bitten even though I know what to do. They are trained not to go near long grass, but this year nearly trod on a brown on the footpath! and also a black in a cm of grass, you just never know!

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BobinOz July 18, 2011 at 8:48 pm

Snakes just get better and better, don’t they? I would have thought a python bite would hurt, and you’re saying it doesn’t? Or do you think you happened to get a gentle python? And taipans, have you netted any of those from your swimming pool? Surely they get aggressive?

Do dogs and cats instinctively know to stay away from snakes? Or do they think “great, somebody to play with!”

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Deborah July 19, 2011 at 8:40 am

I think the python mistook me for lunch and when he realised I was rather big and not snack material he backed off, but what do I know? I cannot read minds. LOL.
He did break the skin and left a lovely big mouth shape on my arm in blood…
I’ve never seen an aggressive taipan, but thinkours here are coastal, no idea what others are like.
Cats and dogs are usually very interested in snakes, one of my dogs only points and never goes near them so I know straight away there is something lurking…

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Paul October 20, 2011 at 1:00 pm

Deborah, sea snake fangs are positioned at the front of the mouth (both Laticaudidae and Hydrophiidae) and they do have effective venom delivery.

Sea snakes being “rear-fanged” is a common misconception.

Though, as you seen in your encounters, they are habitually inoffensive.

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russell coight February 25, 2014 at 6:06 pm

Interesting point about non aussies going on about the dangers, this is what lead me to this website, im living in taiwan for a year and trying to convince my chinese/filipino/american/canadian friends to visit australia, they are all so worried about the many ‘dangerous’ creatures in oz, mostly spiders and snakes, and they wont just take my word for it, so I have to jump online and show them actual statistics, like that noone has died from a spider bite in 20yrs and only 3 or so people have died in the last 10yrs from snakes, add to that already low mortality rate, the size of Australia and the fact that they will only visit a small portion of our country, the ods of them even being in close proximity, let alone seeing a snake is minimal, even camping in the bush will barely raise the odds. So in my experience, australians dont hype up our deadly critters to foreigners, except maybe our nortoriously dangerous drop bears, rather it always seems to be media and myth (and steve irwin) that run rampant in other countries, and us aussies abroad spend most of our time trying to put peoples minds at ease and telling them its really not all that bad. Oh and all the while warning them about our drop bears :P

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BobinOz February 26, 2014 at 12:23 am

Never mind the drop bears, Australia’s most deadly creature is…… the horse.

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russell coight February 26, 2014 at 6:50 pm

Ahh, but have you ever tried to ride a drop bear. Or a snake or spider for that matter :P im sure they would appreciate it as much as the horse does, but just because horses are “big and dump and slow” and dont have fangs, people think its ok to throw a saddle on them rather than let them roam free, annd they pay the price ;) speaking of animals, ive noticed you did a blog on mozzies, have you mentioned size of the golf balls northern queenslanders use yet? By the way, i think its really great how you have this website here informing potential visitors that its not all that dangerous to live in australia. Foreigners seem to have such big misconceptions about our wildlife. So kudos mate

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BobinOz March 1, 2014 at 12:48 am

Funny you should mention mozzies, they are undoubtedly the biggest pain in the neck here, but for some strange reason I’ve pretty much had a mozzie free summer. No bites, no irritation, no buzzing, nothing this summer at all.

Don’t know why, I suspect it’s because it’s been so dry, whatever it is though, I love it.

Thanks, and yes, Australia isn’t really a dangerous place at all, I’d rather take my chances here than in a dark backstreet somewhere in London :-)

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Deborah July 11, 2011 at 1:55 pm

Ooh just one more thing. The best warning of snakes is the birds, they will go mad if they see on anywhere, so take heed.

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BobinOz July 18, 2011 at 8:49 pm

Trouble is though, birds around here always seem to be going crazy. Especially the lorikeets. How can you tell the difference?

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Deborah July 19, 2011 at 8:42 am

The birds go crazy, believe me, you KNOW. LOL. they have a whole different range of calls for danger and ALL the birds will join in, butcher birds, kookaburras, cockies etc etc…..

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Col B July 20, 2011 at 1:56 pm

Good call, Deborah. Birds do go crazy if their nests are nearby and they know Snakes get up trees.

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Col B July 20, 2011 at 2:14 pm

I’ve seen a fully grown Far North NSW Goanna steal a Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo’s egg, resulting in the Cocky to go into a very long loud war cry for hours chasing and even physically attacking the much bigger Goanna all the way down and up a big hill. The Goanna did’nt counter-attack at all!, until a Blue-Heeler dog sprinted after them and effectively broke up the caper.

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BobinOz July 20, 2011 at 10:07 pm

Deborah, Col B

I will definitely pay more attention to birds when they go crazy, sounds like a good sign. I’ve not yet seen a Goanna in the wild, although I have heard they are around here. I’ve also had a picnic up on Mount Nebo where there is supposed to be a resident Goanna. He wasn’t there.

I’ll just have to keep looking.

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Meryl August 31, 2011 at 9:47 pm

Could someone please give the statistics to the media on horseriding deaths, before the only animal Australia has that can pollinate rainforest trees are decimated. How many people have died horse riding in comparison to the Hendra Virus??? And why has Hendra been linked to flying foxes only in recent years???

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BobinOz September 3, 2011 at 3:09 pm

Hi Meryl

I mention it in the post, about 20 people a year die as a result of horseriding. So far, I think, there have been three human deaths attributed to Hendra virus, but the big worry is the mortality rate is high. I think only four or five people have ever been infected, so if you get it the risk of death is very high.

Flying foxes naturally carry the virus in their bodily fluids and excretions. It can pass on to horses by infecting their feeds or their water supply. Why the connection has only been made recently, I don’t know.

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Col B. April 7, 2012 at 12:39 pm

Of a tribe of Bats in a cave, some carry this disease. Bats land on any kinds of fruit that grow on trees. I watched one land on a mango fruit but it decided it does’nt want to eat it, instead it decided to crawl onto the next mango fruit, and ate a chunk of it. So it is possible that both mangoes are infected. Let’s assume that other fruit eating wildlife, like birds, small ground animals that can climb and insects make contact with the two mangoes where the Bat has been, all would have carried the disease elsewhere, like crawling over livestock food, crawled over or sat on back yard water tap faucets, even poke their snout in drinking water. Insects poking into Bat excrements and then crawl all over the place like the outside doorhandle of the backdoor of a house or shed. Even Snakes sliding over bat excrements can leave the disease around in trails and mice stepping on it. There are numerous possibilities.

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BobinOz April 10, 2012 at 8:42 pm

Extremely difficult to control or protect against. It seems to me at the moment that the only “protection” we have against the Hendra virus is to isolate and quarantine those affected as soon as they are discovered.

Scarier than snakes, that’s for sure!

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Aritfact September 6, 2011 at 4:46 am

With all those deadly venomous snake around there, I would have a hard time leaving my home without some form of snake protective clothing. Even at my home in the United States I always wear snake proof gaiters which give me a lot of peace of mind. With those long venomous snakes there though, you might be better of with snake proof chaps. Anyway, Australia looks like a cool place to live and have yet to find and Australian I do not like (one was a bit crazy).

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BobinOz September 7, 2011 at 7:23 pm

No! Too hot for that kind of gear around here. We are a short and thongs kind of country. (Thongs as in flip-flops, yes, that’s what we call them here).

Seriously though, yes, protective wear does make sense.

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Rob October 9, 2011 at 7:21 am

The comments and response from Brodie to Matts comments were quite simply scientifically brilliant. Have no doubt whatsoever our snakes are indeed simply more venomous than our global counterparts. Dangerous as a word however has different connotations. To hear about Brodies friends dying so quickly sent shivers down my spine. God forbid it ever happens again but it will. I also think a fear or respect of snakes is simply instinctive. I grew up in the bush capital and would go hiking every weekend 100s of times as a kid with my brother. Not once did I ever see a snake. Perhaps this was because I was taught to always make a lot of noise and thump a stick on the ground. Anyway only 3 times have a ever seen a snake up close on the wild. Once our cat killed a red belly and left it in the kitchen. Canberra My mum s@&$ herself. It was dead obviously but magnificent to look at. 2nd time more scary I fell asleep in Alice springs on a side road absolutely wasted.

Sienna village to be exact I was stumbling homefromthe bracketed gap hotel and fell asleep 200 m fro
My front door.when I woke up minutes later there was what I believed to be a 30 cm western brown with a tiny black head about a meter from my own head. Never have I sobered up so quick my life. Third time I was in Forster jogging along a footpath right next to the beach behind the dunes and a snake slithered across my path. God I had a heart attack but stepped back and it was gone in a flash. No doubt on my mind it was a common brown that had absolutely zero interest in me being there. Was about 40-50 cm so again only a juvenile IMO. So encounters do happen but in a country like ours with a small per capita of people bites are rare. But I am always positively aware they are all around us and common sense and vigilance is always best. Same reason i dont go swimming at dusk in murky oceanwater. Good luck with you continued admiration of these magnificent creatures.

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BobinOz October 10, 2011 at 8:56 pm

Hi Rob

Yes, Brodie certainly knows what he’s talking about when it comes to snakes.

Very interesting to hear about your snake encounters and that you have only ever seen three snakes ‘close up on the wild ‘, despite living here for so long and in areas where there are plenty of snakes.

But it proves what we’ve already said here, snakes in Australia like to keep themselves to themselves. Make enough noise and they will slither away before we would ever get to see them.

I have not quite been here four years yet, but I’ve seen 8 snakes in the wild so far, but I think I can whittle those down to just one because….

One was a baby carpet snake in the Botanical Gardens. I wouldn’t have seen it if it hadn’t had been pointed out to me by a friend and I’m not sure the Botanical Gardens can be classed as wild.

The second one was a carpet snake which was wild I suppose, but semi-domesticated living on a campsite in the rafters of their stock room. I’ve seen two snakes crossing the road from my car, so they don’t count as close-up.

Then three of them were green tree snakes, not venomous at all or even in any way dangerous, so I’m not sure we can count those. Although one of them was in my house, enabling me to make my very own snake video.

That leaves just one, a small brown snake similar to the one near your face as you were resting during a hard walk home from the pub. He’s the only one I would count as a real wild and close-up encounter, and again, I was lucky enough to have my camera and recorded a video which I called my first snake encounter.

I think snakes are fascinating creatures and certainly part of life here in Australia. As you say, bites are rare, but it always makes sense to be aware of what might be about and to stay sharp.

That said, being facedown by the side of the road in a booze induced coma is the opposite of sharp, yet I bet that snake would have left you alone all the same. He would have probably just slithered over your head and carried on.

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Paul October 20, 2011 at 1:12 pm

It is so common for people having sighted a small brown-coloured snake to identify it as a juvenile Brown or King Brown. You would think other common species such as Yellow-faced Whip Snakes, White-lipped Snakes, Keelbacks, etc, did not exist.

In reality, most snakes that are encountered in the wild are adults. Many species reach maturity at 50cm or less.

And Rob, if you classify your Mum’s kitchen as “the wild”, you really need to get out more. ;-)

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BobinOz November 3, 2011 at 4:45 pm

Hi Paul

Well I’m happy to admit I only “think” that mine was a small Eastern Brown, but if it was something else, I’d like to know. Maybe you could check out the video? The link is in the comment above, my first snake encounter.

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Wilma October 31, 2011 at 12:35 am

Hey, my cat was bitten by a Rinkhals and that happend 2009. We wondered why she did not come back home and there were i live near a mountain in a complex we did not really expect that we will have problems with the nature. She come back in the morning very weak and she fell down. my husband rushed her to the Vet to see what was wrong with her. he told that she was bitten by the rinkhals and that she has a 50/50 chance of survival. he gave her pills to drink and injections that we had to inject her for a few days. today she is much more healthier than she was back then before the bite. her coat is shining and she is a pet with a big attitude. but the snake changed her a bit more by disliking to be pick up and she provides for her needs mostly by catching small pray. But luckly she pulled trough and she is a very strong cat i love her so much.

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Deborah October 31, 2011 at 11:09 am

HI Wilma,
Are you in South Africa? we don’t have that snake here..
Please remember that if your cat is hunting small prey it will very likely get bitten again..and also small prey is full of disease and worms.
We keep all our cats indoors, to protect both them and the wildlife..xxxx

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Wilma November 1, 2011 at 8:45 am

Hi Deborah,

Yes i am in south africa. here we do not keep our animals in the house it is save for them to wonder in a save environment. I live in a complex where there is a wall around my place and a wall around the houses around the complex. i deworm my cat regularly and she gets her injections. she is afraid of snakes now and she will be like a naughty child if i have to keep her closed in the house. she loves her freedom. she is also potty trained and in a good shape and very healthy.

regards

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BobinOz November 6, 2011 at 5:37 pm

I know of people here in Australia who keep cats indoors and those who also let them out. Cats that have always been left indoors don’t seem too fretful about it, they know no different. Cats who go out do have to face the dangers, mainly from snakes and ticks.

Just last week somebody I know lost their cat after it was bitten by a brown. It does happen, but that’s the first one I personally have heard of. Problems with ticks which can end fatally, but not always, are probably more common.

I’m glad to hear that your cat pulled through Wilma.

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Deborah November 6, 2011 at 6:00 pm

We lost a cat in the late 70s to a tiger snake..awful. She was bitten on 3 occassions and the antivenom did not work the last time..
I’m very pleased yours is fine Wilma.
Another reason we keep ours indoors in australia is that we need to protect our native wildlife as cats are introduced and kill many animals and birds..
It is also great for their health, I’ve had many cats over many years and they only need the vet for vaccinations etc. when they are kept indoors. In many parts of Australia local councils demand your cats are kept in and this will be nationwide eventually. They also have to be registered.
Bob, did you see the terrible news re the mother killed within 3 minutes by a snake at Warrick? How awful, poor family, terrible..

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Wilma November 6, 2011 at 6:30 pm

Hi Deborah,

This is interesting to here. I would love to keep my animals indoors. I would like to protect them as much as i could possibly. My cats are potty trained and to get them to use a sand bucket again will be punishment for them. I had previous occasitions that they had to use it, but they would show that they want to go out and made alot of mess in the sand that didn’t involve nr 2 only nr 1 and half of the sand will be outside the bucket.

Also that sand is expensive and it is not sold in big Quantities. I will have to use about 5kg 3 times a week to prevent the house from smelling.

But if i have to do what is save for them i will do it.

Thanx for the replay’s and the interesting stories you give, although it is of great sadness that some animals have to die so cruelly. I do try to take wildlife animals away from the cats when there are no puncture wounds or signs of death. but in anyway i still remove the wildlife animals emediatly when i see that they have te poor creature.

Regards,

Wilma

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BobinOz November 6, 2011 at 8:06 pm

Deborah

Here in Brisbane, cats aren’t allowed out after dark, because that’s when a lot of the natural wildlife come out to play. And yes, I did hear about that poor mother, although I didn’t read anywhere about 3 minutes. Where did you see that?

I’m probably going to write a post about it Monday, it won’t be what people want to read about, but I can’t tell them about all the good stuff and ignore the bad.

Wilma

I’ve now got a couple of cats and I’m the same as you. I try to rescue any creatures they attack, but I can’t be everywhere. I actually wish they were indoor cats now.

Cheers!

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Wilma November 6, 2011 at 6:14 pm

Thank you for the replay.

Luckly there are parts here in south africa where i live that is not full of all the dangerous ticks, but there are places full of the red ticks that cause animals to get tick diseases.

Not one of my cats have fleas or ticks. It is only the one cat that doesn’t like to be cept closed up sins she was a small kitten. the other two is very happy with us humans there. My black cat is full of moodyness which is strange sometimes to see in animals. when you pick her up or give her attention she makes sounds to warn us to leave her alone. she also doesn’t like strangers or animal strangers.

For me she is very tough and she likes to manage everything on her own. Once we where 3 to hold her still to remove stitches and she still got her self loose to bite one of us.

I do not know if there is a word for her moodyness but she’s got a big attitude:-)

Thanx Regards,

Wilma

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Milad Michael January 13, 2012 at 11:14 pm

Hi, just wanted to tell my story & see what you think.
It was about 4pm on a warm day in January & I was sitting in a chair on the front porch of the farm house, then I saw two Eastern Brown snakes emerge from under the long trailer which was about 20 m away, one was about 1.5m long the other about 3 m long, they looked like they were going through some sort of ritual, I watched this for about a minute then the 3 m long snake stopped & started to stare at me, within seconds he started to come towards me & the shorter snake went into a pile of bricks near the shed, I quickly picked up my loaded shotgun which was just inside the door & shot the snake as it still came towards me, when I kicked the pile of bricks the other snake took of at the rate of about ten feet per second in the direction of the house so I shot it as well. What do you think made the first snake come towards me?

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BobinOz January 17, 2012 at 2:26 pm

Wow! You shot a couple of snakes, one in the back. What a tough guy!

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pHyR3 January 17, 2012 at 4:04 pm

Just wanted to comment, that according to wikipedia Australia has more snake bites than USA. Only looked at the one site. Also, USA is FAR more densely populated (about 15x on mainland) so chances of snake encounters are higher.

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BobinOz January 17, 2012 at 5:19 pm

Not according to my research, check out my page which compares Australia and the USA for snake, shark and crocodile/alligator attacks. Ignore the opening few paragraphs….

Australia vs USA – Snake bites and more

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shaz February 12, 2012 at 9:42 pm

Hey there …I live in Northern NSW, in a forested area. The place is dense with snakes. I know 3 people who have been bitten while going around their normal tasks (gardening/fencing), one from behind. I don’t advocate killing them, but when you live in an area with a large populationl of the deadliest snakes in the world it pays to believe a bite may cause death. It means you are extra vigilant.
To think your chances of being bitten are slim isn’t a good reason to be complacent. Sure, it’s great for people who live in cities and don’t see many snakes (and most of the ones they see wouldn’t be poisonous). It prevents them headhunting.
But if you live in the country – watch out. I had a 2 1/2 metre taipan in my house – twice. I still jump at shadows a week later. Luckily it wasn’t aggressive towards me ….. but death would have been a short time away had it bitten me, with hospital a good 20 minutes away on some of the worst dirt roads in Oz.
I think you should alter the main part of your webpage to change the envenom rate – rather than relying on people reading the comments. It is inaccurate and leaves people with a false sense of relief. Out of the 3 people I know who have been bitten – all 3 were injected with venom and were very sick. None of them handled or were aggressive to the snake in any way.
It strikes me you are a researcher but have little experience in dealing with snakes in every day circumstance. I have never killed a snake in my life, but have caught and rehomed 3 brown snakes and 2 carpet snakes and have multiple run-ins with poisonous snakes every year.

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BobinOz February 13, 2012 at 2:03 pm

Hi Shaz

Not sure why you are asking me to update the article with reference to envenomation rates, I already have. It’s right underneath the original statement where it says Update: in orange.

And yes, I do do a lot of research, that’s how I get my facts right. That said, I also live in the Western suburbs of Brisbane which are the greenest part of the city, lots of acreage with the huge Brisbane Forest Park as a back garden. Plenty of snakes here too, including one that came into my house.

In my experience, people looking to move to Australia worry excessively about snakes and the dangers. I’m just trying to put it into perspective here, I’m certainly not trying to make people complacent. I think most people know that if they choose to live in the outback, they will need to be more aware of the dangers of snakes.

Cheers

Bob

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shaz February 13, 2012 at 2:10 pm

Rather than putting it as an ‘update’ why not alter the original text? I feel it is irresponsible. I also lived in the Brisbane Western suburbs before moving here, it is simply not comparable in terms of snake population.
You are on the world wide web and your article is at risk of being quoted from by people who may not even bother scrolling further to see your ‘update’.

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BobinOz February 14, 2012 at 10:05 pm

No, not really, I think the update is perfectly clear. Are you from the Internet police?

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Gordon February 14, 2012 at 11:52 pm

Just to put risk into context , the odds of being killed in a traffic accident are small but nevertheless real . The odds of being killed by snakebite are a tiny fraction of being killed in a traffic accident.

I think my odds of winning big on Lotto are greater than those of getting bitten by a snake . It’s just not something I’ve ever worried about and I’ve seen a quite few land snakes in my life and handled thousands of sea snakes .

Snakes do not hunt humans , they just want to get away , they have a role in ecology , they are protected , let them just get away and all is well.

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BobinOz February 15, 2012 at 10:09 pm

No, I reckon my chances of being bitten by a snake are far greater than me winning the Lotto.

Never buy a ticket :-)

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shaz February 15, 2012 at 10:19 pm

Gee, that put me in my place. Of course the risk of people taking your original, and top, and most noticeable statement seriously (without scrolling further) is far smaller than your ego.

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AussieMitch April 7, 2012 at 12:10 am

Honestly this blog is about opinions from Bob and contributing people who comment and tell stories about their encounters with snakes in our great county of Australia.
The research is from real life encounters and online research.
No professional words from Bob, just his best attempts at the newest and most updated info online.
This is a social site, and a gooden for all seeking an ex Brits opinion and experience relocating and living in Oz.

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BobinOz April 10, 2012 at 7:21 pm

Exactly! Just a few folk chewin’ the fat. It’s not to be taken too seriously, but hopefully provides some valuable information at the same time. Cheers Mitch!

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Amber April 9, 2012 at 5:18 pm

Hi, my name is amber and I’m from the US. I stumbled onto your site researching a fact. I have handled reptiles for years now. This may have been said before but, if it has teeth it can bite. My husband is an animal control officer and deals with any snake calls in our area. There have been two reported venomous snake bites in our area in 10 yrs. Yet there are literally hundreds of dog/cat bites every month. The biggest thing that causes peoples fear is ignorance. Never handle a reptile with out knowledge. Most snakes bite for two reasons defense and feed response. Good thing is they usually give you a warning first. Whether you notice it or not.
Thank you for putting this information about snakes out there. The more positive info there is out there the better. Snakes really do have an undeserved bad reputation. I have never personally encountered a snake in oz but my uncle has lived there for over 30 yrs and has never had a bad experience with one. ;)

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BobinOz April 10, 2012 at 7:23 pm

Yes, that’s very interesting. People’s pets probably do cause far more injuries than any wild snakes do, certainly here in Australia and in the USA. Thanks for pointing that out Amber.

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Col B. April 11, 2012 at 4:43 am

I remember when l was about 11 years old, l saw a fully grown six to seven feet long Snake at a stock car racing track at a Victorian town called Daylesford. To this day I still could’nt work out what kind of Snake it was, it was olive brown, its belly had a creamy color and its head had a standout copper color. The story goes that my two younger sisters were standing on the roof of a smashed up rusty reject stock car in the bush where it was littered with car parts behind the race track. I was standing on the ground no more than 5 feet away from Debbie and Carolyn when the latter said “Look! a big Snake!” and l said “Where?”. Although in my family we don’t panic over anything, not even afraid of going walkabouts at full moon out into the forest. Anyway it took at least a minute or so to spot that Snake after I asked Carolyn to point at it, it was camouflaged in the surrounding ground with no visual obstruction. We were in awe of it, we made no movement. But out of curiosity l picked up a long stick lying next to me. The Snake (my gawd it WAS a big healthy specimen!) was resting with its head inside a rusty baked bean tincan no more than a yard away (think of a triangle between my sisters, me, and the Snake). I touched it with the stick and it freaked out, sending the tincan six feet into the air as it bolted off faster than a stock car on the track!, its copper colored head had a brilliant copper tone to it. I know l should’nt have done that, but hey, We were always just fearless adventurous barefeet kids back then!. But the specie name of that one Snake still baffle us even we were so good at identifying them. Anyone? what do you might think, Bob?.

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Mike April 11, 2012 at 7:11 pm

Could it have been an Olive Python? They typically are olive with a very creamy underside.

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Col B. April 12, 2012 at 12:27 am

I can remember the shape of its head. A typical Python’s head would be big and triangular in shape. But the Snake in question had a narrower head like the Brown. It was the flashy copper color of its head that really stood out. I once thought it might have been an overgrown Copperhead from America that could have escaped from either the smugglers or their buyers. Note: Of the almost seven billion humans on Earth, some grow to be as tall as seven feet to nearly eight feet. Any kind of animals or insects within their respective specie, some would be the same.

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Col B. April 11, 2012 at 4:49 am

Hmmm… On another baffling thing, I did paragraph breaks here but it reverted without the breaks. must be something wrong with my laptop. Sorry for the inconvenience.

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BobinOz April 15, 2012 at 1:22 am

Your paragraph breaks look very strange when I see them this end. They look like spaces, like this. And then the next paragraph starts.

So perhaps it is your end, are you hitting enter twice for a new paragraph?

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Col B. April 15, 2012 at 5:24 am

No, just holding down the spacer key to the end of the line already typed on through to the end of the next whole line (not to the start of the next).
But then you told me something about the “Enter” key, hmm… I’ve never known that. Thanx!.

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Rob April 12, 2012 at 1:31 am

Very much sounds like a copperhead. Austrelaps there are 3 kinds of them in Australia and limited to tassie and Victoria and coolish highland areas of nsw. No chance it was an olive python their habitat is way up north. Id say Copperhead given the description and habitat. Although he sounds like a damn big specimen.

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Col B. April 12, 2012 at 3:15 am

Maybe. A Copperhead on steroid!. A Robert Wadlow, Arnold Swarzenegger and Usain Bolt rolled into one!.

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BobinOz April 12, 2012 at 4:54 pm

I think your guesses will all be better than mine, when ever I see a snake I’m not sure about, I have to grab my Brisbane book of wildlife. But funnily enough, I saw a snake (dead, unfortunately) round a neighbours house in the garden. They have a couple of Labradors that prowl around, I wondered if they had got to him. But he was very dark with a lighter copper underbelly and definitely a copper coloured head. I’ve never done this before, but I’ll try and post a picture in this comment…

Unidentified Snake

It was only about 3 to 4 foot long, probably just a baby. Any ideas?

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Col B. April 12, 2012 at 10:55 pm

The closest I could identify your Snake in the picture, Bob, is the Coastal Taipan. Of the 27 species of Snakes found around brisbane, one which has a narrow triangular or “coffin-shaped” head (In your picture, its lower jaw seem wholly facing the camera), With a thin body, usually each of the same specie differ from light brown to brownish yellow to dark-brown, its lower jaw and snout more paler than the rest of its body, would be the Coastal Taipan. The darkish blue coloring of its body shown in your picture is somewhat unusual for this breed, assuming it is a Coastal Taipan.

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BobinOz April 13, 2012 at 12:48 am

A very interesting identification and one that just might be correct. It also highlights why snake identification is so difficult (ahem) when you rely on a book, like I do.

My Brisbane wildlife book has only one picture of a Coastal Taipan and it is a very distinct brown, but if you Google images of the Coastal Taipan, they also show quite a few that are the same colour as in my snake picture above.

So I have uploaded a higher quality and larger image which you can see by clicking this link here, it’ll open up in a new window…

Unidentified snake

You’ll get a clearer image of his head, the colour and scaling. If it was a Coastal Taipan, I suspect those Labradors have had a lucky escape. By the way, there was a dead mouse about 10 feet away, but with no real sign of attack.

Maybe the snake had envenomated it but didn’t get a chance to eat his lunch?

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Col B. April 13, 2012 at 4:30 am

Your closeup high quality picture shows the Snake’s scales are similar too. The Mouse? a lot of dogs loves chasing and trample on them and hold them down, resulting in the Mouse to suffocate under the paw of a dog. I know because I had dogs in the past and watched them. The Labradors you spoke of probably are fed full by their owner. Then again, it probably was bitten by the Snake which probably did’nt get the chance to munch on it. The Snake in your picture look emanciated having had no feed in a long while or it just came out of hibernation, having fixed its concentration on the Mouse before the Labradors took it by surprise. I see they broke its bones in places.

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Trista December 10, 2013 at 10:28 am

Ive just found two half eaten baby snakes, one older, mayb last years, with jet black bodies nd a perlish dark blue belly. After extensive research on line, ive come to the conclusion they are the red bellies cousin, the blue bellied or spotted black snake. They can b jet black or white scaled with black tips (hence spotted black snake) since the red and black bellied are the only jet black snakes in aus i, happy with that diagnosis. But nowhere in anything did i read about the white underchin. The bigger one looks like your picture underneath. Ill see if i can upload a pic on here. Its not pretty tho. Poor things have been half eaten. My pup meant well, and im glad he is protecting my family, but i am a reptile lover and it breaks my heart to see them mauled when they were just out for some food and water :(

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Trista December 10, 2013 at 10:37 am

Hmmm no luck i cant copy and paste the pics here. Forgive my noobishness, but is there another way i can add pics here?

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Geoff Coombe December 10, 2013 at 11:33 am

G’day Trista
Go to the Queensland Museum’s website where you will find good (& accurate) info about snakes of the state: http://www.qm.qld.gov.au/Find+out+about/Animals+of+Queensland/Reptiles/Snakes/Common+and+dangerous+species.
It includes photos & identification, distribution & map, plus details of habitat, habits, food, venom, breeding info of each snake, plus details of similar species & additional information. An excellent resource.
You can get a pocket guide on Snakes of South-east Queensland @ $9.95 from the museum too.
Hope that helps.

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BobinOz December 11, 2013 at 12:01 am

Hi Trista

As you’ve discovered, it’s not possible to copy and paste a photograph into a comment. Your photograph needs to be uploaded to the Internet somewhere, any kind of photo sharing website, like Flickr. Then just copy and paste a link in your comment to that photo.

By the way, it’s great to hear that you care about our reptilian life here, most people just freak out about it, but as you say, they only want food and water.

Cheers, Bob

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Col B. April 13, 2012 at 6:46 am

On second thoughts, Bob, No Taipans were ever found to have blue coloring. I just remembered Australia Zoo in 2009 of an article with pictures that they have on their website about Green Tree Snakes that are blue (rare) which has been sighted from Cairns to Sydney several times. That Snake in your Picture is actually a Green Tree Snake. It’s a harmless species.

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BobinOz April 14, 2012 at 12:50 am

This snake identification lark is quite tricky, isn’t it? I’m not sure about your Green Tree Snake theory, you can normally see a yellowish underbelly, I didn’t. I had a six-foot Green Tree Snake in my house, but it was much slimmer than this shorter snake, and it’s whip tail was much longer.

I’m also not 100% convinced it’s a Coastal Taipan, I saw one of those today over at the David Fleay Wildlife Park, it was much skinnier and shorter, but then it could have been much younger.

But I can see the damage to the snake, I think the dogs are guilty on this one.

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Col B. April 14, 2012 at 3:31 am

That’s okay, Bob. But I’m convinced it is a Green tree Snake. Although the dead Snake in question has all the features of a Coastal Taipan, the blue color from neck to tail is unheard of (pity we cannot see its upper top side of its head. I said to myself that there can only be one other Snake specie in your area that can be in blue or dark blue phases. When I remembered I saw one on an Australia Zoo site in 2009 they say there are some around, only just the Green Tree Snake in blue phase are rare, several has been seen. I dug into the internet and found a few sites with pictures of blue ones that fit the description. I do not know how to post links into my comment posts as I have never tried that before. Maybe you could tell me in how to post a link. I also showed the picture of the dead Snake in question to a Reptile expert just to be sure and he said it is a blue phase Green Tree Snake.

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BobinOz April 15, 2012 at 1:18 am

No, if you are sure it’s a blue phase Green Tree Snake, then I’m happy to go along with that. Certainly less scary then a Coastal Taipan! Although I know we do get Coastal Taipans in Western Brisbane.

I think dead snakes are sometimes harder to identify, they lose something (obviously).

If you want to post some links, just copy and paste them in full and they will work. I can tidy them up my end to make them shorter. Don’t put more than four links in, otherwise the machinery will think you are spamming me and won’t allow the comment.

Don’t tell the spammers that though, will you :-)

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waitew April 28, 2012 at 5:50 pm

Yes,more people die each year from snake bite in the USA than in OZ,BUT the USA has 10x’S as many people! If you adjust it to a per person comparison (which is only FAIR) Australia IS more DANGEROUS from a snake bite perspective.

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BobinOz April 30, 2012 at 9:35 pm

Yes, absolutely true.

That’s why I covered it in more depth in my post called Australia versus USA: Snakes, Sharks and Crocs. I was just trying to make the point here that Australia isn’t the only ‘western country’ with killer snakes.

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Anthony June 3, 2012 at 1:40 am

Hi, My partners Grandmother owns a farm at Upper Brookfield in Brisbane. The house is now vacant as her G/mother has passed on. We came across 2 brown snakes today as we’ve started to clean the place up. We think they’re Eastern Brown snakes. The problem is the house is a REAL mess and the place looks like Snake Heaven….We WILL NOT be returning until we come up with a solution, any suggestions from anyone on who may be able to help?….CHEERS, Anthony.

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Col B. June 3, 2012 at 4:48 am

Hello. Anthony. If the grass or bushes around the house is overgrown, the first thing to do is mow it all down. Wear wellington boots and tough gloves, have someone present.
Next, clean up or rake up mowed vegetation, have it taken to the tip if you have a trailer. or make a temporary pile. Stack junks in a spot, ready to be taken to a tip. Organize good stuffs,
Next, ask council about any registered snake catchers.
Build a box twenty metres up a tree trunk nearby (if there’s a tree) for a Barn Owl or other types of Owls to live. Around 70 per-cent probability one will move in if present in the immediate region or shire.
One trick I tried that worked was that I tied half a dozen dead mice on strings hanging from tree branches or any kind of structures like clotheslines or fences, with the mice at least 2 or 3 feet above the ground surface.
Stomping about on the housefloors will drive snakes out. Leave doors and windows open while you do the stomping parade for at least half an hour. Works for me, good exercise.
Next, call council about any registered snake-catcher.
Once his job is done. Get rid of the dead mice. Cheers!
Better take action now because snakes are soon about to go into hibernation for winter, and they’ll be hard to find in niches inside the house or nearby.

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Col B. June 3, 2012 at 4:56 am

OOps I mentioned snake catcher twice (one in the wrong paragraph). Actually, I’d call for one when everything else is done first. Cheers!.

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BobinOz June 4, 2012 at 12:44 am

Good advice from Col B, and you are right to be wary, plenty of snakes in Upper Brookfield. If you need a really good gardener, let me know, I can give you the phone number of a very good guy for the job.

I also know someone who just might do house clearances as well. I’m not usually this helpful, but I do only live just down the road.

Good luck!

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Peter N August 8, 2012 at 5:50 pm

Two things I was taught.
Never put any part of your body anywhere you can’t see. Still makes a lot of sense to me.
Olive sea snakes are bad news if they get you, but they can’t open their mouths much more than 10mm, so if you wear gloves (most bites are in the webs between the fingers when you put up your hand to defend yourself) and pin your ears under the strap of your goggles, there is little likelyhood of problems. Bear in mind that sea snakes are very inquisitive and cannot focus until 100mm away.
Until recently I lived at Mt Crosby and saw about one snake a year, now I live at Mt Hallen and see at least one a week in summer. Probably because I keep a lookout as I’m a bit of a girl when it comes to wildlife.
Peter

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BobinOz August 8, 2012 at 9:35 pm

I’m surprised you only saw about one snake a year over at Mount Crosby, that’s just round the corner from me and I would’ve thought it would have been teeming with snakes.

Mount Hallen is a fair bit more remote though, sounds like you have a thriving snake population there. As for olive sea snakes, I just stay out of the sea. I’m a bit of a girly when it comes to sharks, Irukandji and stonefish.

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Lou November 22, 2012 at 12:31 pm

I have read everyones comments about how snakes are shy and unless cornered will not attack..well in the past two days we have had two different snakes (though same type) which we are guessing are western browns go for us…One was yesterday when we came home we got out of the car and was unpacking groceries when it came across the lawn towards us it flattened its head and reared up at us before we ran away and it then took off..today I was outside pegging washing out and i turned round to see a snake racing towards me I stomped my feet (depending on expert they tell you to make vibrations) and it came towards me faster and I had to run off..can someone please tell me why they would be doing this and what we can do other than moving house lol.

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BobinOz November 26, 2012 at 1:05 pm

Hi Lou

That doesn’t sound like much fun.

Yes, I have heard one or two other stories of aggressive snakes, I think it is rare but it does occasionally happen. If you continue to see these aggressive snakes in your back garden or garage, I would suggest calling a snake catcher and asking for advice. Maybe these snakes have made their home somewhere on your premises and a snake catcher could remove them. Cheaper than moving house.

Let us know how it goes.

Cheers

Bob

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leila January 31, 2013 at 7:14 pm

mother snake in my backyard at night

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leila January 31, 2013 at 4:59 pm

I saw a now born eastern brown snake at my birthday yesterday In hervery bay. and they lay 10 to 30 and a nest in my backyard. and im 8

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leila January 31, 2013 at 5:12 pm

is there a coment

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BobinOz January 31, 2013 at 8:29 pm

Yes, there is a comment leila, DON’T TOUCH THE SNAKES!

Have you told your mother about these snakes? If you haven’t, you do need to, they can give you a pretty nasty bite if you’re not careful.

Let me know what happens, thanks.

Bob

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John March 10, 2013 at 12:28 am

Bob, on a serious note, the bodies of Adrianus Hendrik van Herpes, ‘Matt’ & 17,000 mice have been found in a remote location in what has been described as a snake invenomation experiment gone wrong. Police say there are no suspicious circumstances, and that the families of the mice have been notified.

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BobinOz March 11, 2013 at 7:13 pm

Oh gosh, those poor mice :-)

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John March 11, 2013 at 11:25 pm

Yep, not a pretty sight Bob! But, on the bright side, more cheese for the rest of us!!

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Bianca March 11, 2013 at 9:46 am

A great debate to read and as a person who has just moved to the Adelaide Hills with four small children, I am keen to be educated and reduce the risk of my family coming across snakes.

My mission is to get a first aid kit for home and the car with bandages just in case and then hopefully, according to Murphy’s Law, it will never be required.

Regarding the last comment from John, you made my day! Hehehe

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BobinOz March 11, 2013 at 7:58 pm

Sensible thinking Bianca, definitely pays to be prepared, just in case.

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Julia June 12, 2013 at 5:56 pm

I’m from the USA. I’ve lived in every region of the country, and snakes scare the crap out of me. Since I’m looking to visit Au and NZ in a trip, I googled “snakes and Australia and New Zealand.” Since I’ve personally poisonous snake bites and grown up around water moccasins, copperheads, diamond backs, and coral snakes- (btw the water moccasins are the really scary ones- they stalk people and bite unprovoked- first hand knowledge!) The death count I’m sure is low but what is the number of people bitten? SInce I moved up north, I’ve been fortunate to avoid poisonous snakes and I personally don’t care for them. I don’t go out and hunt snakes or hurt animals- I just avoid them as much as possible and I’m not observant enough to be on the look-out and prefer not to. If I stayed in major cities can I avoid snakes?

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BobinOz June 12, 2013 at 9:00 pm

Well Julia, it’s very rare for any of our snakes to stalk people, they much prefer to slither away into the distance unnoticed. As for how many people get bitten by snakes, I can certainly answer that; estimates suggest it’s about 1100 -1200 people a year. Deaths though are, as you say, very low.

Check out my page…

Australia’s Killer Creatures and Death

…where I’ll tell you all of the numbers you need to know about deaths and also let you know exactly which is Australia’s most fearsome killer creature!

I hope you have a great trip here, I’m sure you will, cheers, Bob

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Bianca June 12, 2013 at 9:13 pm

Julia, you may have uncovered this already by doing your homework on Australia and NZ but if not, you will find NZ has no snakes. None at all – not even in Zoos, not even little harmless grass ones. There are teeny geckos in some hills but you have to look for them, hard. The worst thing you will come across in NZ is probably Kea’s. They are birds found in the Alpine area’s in the South Island and they are known to steal your lunch and have damaged cars. They are cheeky but loveable little sods. On the Australia side of things, I was pretty worried about snakes when we first moved here. I live in the Hills region, South Australia and while I haven;t seen a snake in the wild yet, my friends who live on country lands tell me they have seen them on their properties but they tend to take off once they hear you approach. If you go bush anywhere, just make sure you make a bit of noise when you walk, wear long pants and be mindful. I highly doubt you will see one if you are visiting cities and sticking to urban areas. Good luck with your trip.

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BobinOz June 25, 2013 at 7:40 pm

You may be interested to know that I have been working closely with a snake expert Geoff Coombe recently and we are proud to launch a new book called Living with Snakes.

It may be worth you checking it out.

Cheers

Bob

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Eric H. June 16, 2013 at 9:16 am

I stumbled across your site out of curiosity. I found it funny that I lived in Florida in the USA for almost my entire life and personally know of one family member who was bitten by a snake (my grandfather by a pygmy rattlesnake on the hand while gardening and he lived though the snake bite did bring to his Doctors attention he had pancreatic cancer of which he did eventually die of. It’s funny I was more fascinated by the snakes of Australia than my own country. I’ve run into about 8 different kinds of Rattlesnake, Coral Snakes, Water Moccasins (while running on a trail by a stream, I stepped over one not realizing till I was already over it that it was a water moccasin, thought it was a branch) and Copper Heads to name just a few and they are all poisonous. The reaction I encountered was that they all tried to get away from me or (in the case of a few the Rattle Snakes) took up a defensive warning posture to tell me to move away. I think your statistics for the danger of being bitten and dying from a snake bite is accurate, in fact the last two snake bites I heard of in Florida were by a King Cobra and Pit Viper on herpetologists. Which leads me to the assumption that those who put themselves in a position to handle snakes are at the most risk.

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BobinOz June 17, 2013 at 2:20 pm

Very true Eric, for the most part snakes would rather run away from us than stay and fight. I think anyone who gets bitten is either very unlucky, or they have tried to handle the snake for some reason or maybe they have tried to kill it. That’s not a clever thing to attempt and will often end in tears.

Cheers

Bob

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HeidiBacardi October 20, 2013 at 11:07 pm

I found your website this afternoon after looking up how to scare away snakes on Google. Have read the whole thread – it’s fascinating! My interest was because, on a 5 acre plot about 40km south west of Perth, WA, we have several sightings of snakes every year and as a Pom (an ex-Pom? – just got our Aussie citizenship hurrah!!) it does freak me out. (Actually I think when it comes to snakes a Pom is always going to struggle to be truly Australian).

I was mowing our back lawn this afternoon (the bit closest to the house) and I saw a tiger snake curled up in the sun. It was almost black and looked wet, and for a second I hoped it was dead but then it decided it didn’t like all the noise and slithered off into the wood pile :) Thank goodness summer’s nearly here and I don’t need wood!

We saw 4 or 5 snakes last year – dugites and tiger snakes, with the most scary being a tiger of about 2m heading towards the house in a very determined fashion. It was only when when we both jumped up and down that it stopped, then turned round and went in the other direction. What also scares me is the babies – it’s very hard to tell a baby dugite from a lizard, and I’ve been led to believe that the babies are far more dangerous than the adults. A friend of ours just had their dog (a boxer) killed by a baby dugite only about 10cm long.

So I’m taking some consolation from the fact that you guys all say leave a snake alone and it will leave you alone….hope you’re right, don’t want to be a statistic, however rare!!

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BobinOz October 21, 2013 at 8:02 pm

Sounds like you have already learnt the art of snake repelling, just jump up and down :-)

By and large, yes, snakes will leave you alone, problems occur when you don’t see the snake and it doesn’t see or hear you and you ‘bump into each other’, as in you might tread on a snake.

Leaving them alone is the best defence, it’s a shame that dogs (and cats) do not understand that rule.

Cheers, Bob

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Kristen November 19, 2013 at 12:11 am

I found your page whilst looking for statistics on how many people are bitten whilst trying to kill a snake. My problem is the school that my children go to seem to have the rediculous policy of killing snakes when ever they see them on the school grounds. They killed the fifth one this year on Friday and I am totally horrified by their actions. Not mentioning the fact that it is illegal (this is a state school btw) and cruel to extremes, the fact cannot be glossed over that these teachers are teaching kids that approaching snakes is okay…. And it is not! The one they killed on Friday was apparently a tree snake, the teacher involved actually told the children this, it is beyond my comprehension that they can justify their actions to themselves let alone anyone else. I am in the process of composing a letter to the principal, hence my looking for statistics. I am keen to find qld govt policy on snake handling but so far I am having issues with negotiating the policies on the qld govt. web page. What I really need is some expert advise that I can use to try and convince the principal that his schools actions are reckless and outright dangerous. If I am unsuccessful at this stage I intend to go higher, but if you could give me any useful info or ammunition I can use that would be great, thanks

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BobinOz November 19, 2013 at 6:46 pm

Hi Kristen

I am as disgusted as you are about this, and agree that this is a shocking message to be sending to the children. Have they not heard of snake catchers?

I can assure you it is illegal to kill a snake in Queensland and I think it is also illegal in all other states, snakes are protected species. It is also the case that attempting to kill a snake is far more likely to lead to your death than ignoring it or removing yourself from the situation and calling a snake catcher.

So yes, I really do think you should write a strong letter to the principal and demand that this practice cease immediately, maybe you can (sarcastically if you prefer) provide them with the names of a few snake catchers. If they don’t take any notice, then I think you would have to take it higher, their actions are nothing short of outrageous.

As for killing a tree snake, why? They are a totally harmless and quite timid snake, they present no danger to children whatsoever.

I am going to see if I can get hold of my snake expert Geoff Coombe and get his opinion. I’m sure he will be as disgusted as we are, and maybe he can offer some advice.

Please do let us know how you get on after sending in that letter.

Cheers, Bob

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Geoff Coombe November 19, 2013 at 7:40 pm

G’day Kristen

After over 40 years trying to educate people about snakes in Australia by public displays, training courses, demonstrations & one-on-one with residents on callouts in their backyards, it’s attitudes as you have described which lead me to despair.

One would hope that teachers (of all people) could have a better understanding of the value of snakes, including venomous species. Depending on where you are in Qld, some of the snakes could have been pythons, blind snakes or colubrids (e.g. tree snakes) all of which are generally considered harmless.

The majority of the venomous land snakes of Australia as not considered dangerous, being mostly small to medium in size. Yes Qld may have a higher proportion of potentially dangerous snakes but even they are well known by herpetologists to prefer to escape the attention of humans than suffer from an altercation.

The notion of habitually killing snakes neglects several points worth remembering (in addition to others you have mentioned): removing one from an area is likely to create an incentive for another snake over time to occupy the same area (for shelter sites & food) & by far the best way to get bitten is to “have a go”.

A bite from a brown snake can appear trivial & a person may ignore it thinking they got away with bashing the snake, until later when the basher collapses. By then it’s probably too late to even call an ambulance.

Do the teachers fully understand the peril in which they are potentially placing the kids? One of the highest risk groups for snake bite are primary age children. What if an adult botches the kill & an injured (& in pain) snake escapes under a school building? Have they not considered their duty of care?

If a person is not skilled in catching venomous snakes it is imperative that they do not interfere with one, particularly any of the brown snake species (which cause the most bites & deaths from snake bite in Australia).

Perhaps the last word should come from one of the country’s most prominent clinical toxinologists who said that “…prevention of bites is a vital element in the reduction of snake bite fatalities.”

For more information go to the toxinology resources website at http://www.toxinology.com which also includes the most up to date information on snake bite first aid.

The teachers should at least know what to do when a kid gets bitten after the event.

Regards Geoff

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Kristen November 19, 2013 at 9:33 pm

Thank you so much for your quick replies, I am really glad that there is support for my way of thinking. I live in a rural area of central qld near gladstone, so we do have a number of dangerous snakes but in the most part we see mostly tree snakes and pythons. I wrote a long five page letter this morning setting out the various reasons why this practice needs to stop immediately. I received a reply this afternoon, which consisted of three paragraphs stating that he has the interests of the students to consider and that they are too far from town to wait for parks and wildlife to arrive.(30 mins at most).
I was basically fobbed off! This has made me a little furious to be honest and I have replied to him already, here is a copy of my reply

Thank you for replying so quickly to my concerns, .

I still do not think that you are taking into consideration the implication your policy has on students. I am not suggesting that the students watch the killings but they are made fully aware of what has occurred (and they were present for the killing when the parent crushed the baby tree snake with her shoe). This results in them thinking that it is an acceptable practice to approach and attempt to kill snakes. This is under no circumstances an acceptable result. Couple this with the fact that one of the teachers who has since killed a snake, told a group when snakes were mentioned, that if she sees a snake she will grab a shovel and cut its head off. The students in the group went on to talk about how they kill snakes. This is once again, teachers modelling unsafe behaviour and considering that she has gone on to practice what she preached the modelling has been reinforced.

I do not believe, from what I have been told, that any of these snake (save the one you mentioned) were a threat to students or staff. By all accounts the one on Monday was a harmless tree snake. If the snake had been threatening anyone at the time then of course this is a different situation and desperate measures could be considered.

You have failed to take any consideration for the laws of this country. It is an offence to kill native Australian animals without a permit. So once again the actions that you have taken (you meaning school policy,not you personally) is modelling unsavoury behaviour yet expecting your students to work within the law. This is not acceptable.

If you look up any information regarding how to deal with snakes, without fail, experts agree that the only safe way is to remove yourself from the situation. Expecting your staff members to approach snakes is a breach of workplace health and safety guidelines.

I am not trying to be difficult but I feel very strongly about this situation and do not believe that your school policy is safe.

Thank you

Kristen Stewart .

I await his reply, I had not considered the points that Geoff made regarding the removal of one snake will lead to another turning up, hence the problem carrying on indefinately, I will definately add that to any subsequent correspondance. I have been in contact with a friend in the education department and she has given me the number to ring if I wish to make a formal complaint, if I have no joy I intend to go down that road, however I hope it doesn’t come to that, it is a small school and I don’t want my kids life to be effected by my sticking my nose in, if you know what I mean. Being a rural area for some reason many locals consider killing snakes to be perfectly acceptable behaviour. I find it abhorrent and do not intend to allow it to go on any longer.
Thank you for the link I will send the relevant information in my next email, along with some quotes from your reply and from this page, the man must be made aware of the danger he is placing his staff and students in.

Thanks again,

Kristen

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edward November 20, 2013 at 5:05 am

You might differently if your child attended the school.

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kristen November 20, 2013 at 4:56 pm

not sure what you are saying but my children do attend the school

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BobinOz November 20, 2013 at 8:33 pm

Hi Kristen

I think what scares me most about what the school is doing is that they are teaching the children is it’s a good idea to attack and attempt to kill a snake whenever they see one. That can only lead to problems and it is certainly not in the best interests of the children.

On that basis maybe you can remind the headmaster that he is not really protecting the children at all, or ‘teaching’ (the thing he is being paid to do) them the best thing to do.

Thanks for keeping us up to date with your exchanges with the school, please keep us informed if you can, I’m keen to know how this one will end up.

Cheers, Bob

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Col B November 20, 2013 at 6:46 am

How about lobbying to make law compulsory for all rural school caretakers to mow the yards at all times and have a trained guard dog in each school to shoo snakes away?

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BobinOz November 20, 2013 at 8:35 pm

Well Col B (good to hear from you again, by the way) there’s already a law against killing snakes, they’re not taking much notice of that, are they? Breaking the law for this school seems to be part of the curriculum.

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Col B. February 27, 2014 at 3:31 am

Tell the tourists to don saddle up onto the backs of Shellback Ticks for a canter ride to Fat Lump Armpitville. For a Bull’s ride, tell ‘em to go on the backs of Jumping Jack Ants to Bigga-Bulge Neckton and they’ll get the meaning of agony. On the contrary, tell ‘em for desserts to beware of falling Koalas – or drop bears. :)

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BobinOz March 1, 2014 at 1:09 am

You are obviously referring to russell coights comment above, but I’ll tell them all the same :-)

Cheers Col B!

Whatever anyone decides to ride, make sure it isn’t a drop bear.

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edward March 1, 2014 at 5:59 pm

2014 still clinging to the crown? Why? Why should an old woman back in mother England STILL (2014) be able to tell the entire population of a continent: NO ! Simply be refusing her REQUIRED assent? She wasn’t elected & did nothing to earn it other than having been born…which we’ve all managed. Why? What’s wrong with you people? You’d be better off an American state. Reject the crown & we’ll let you in the union…snakes & all.

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BobinOz March 1, 2014 at 11:38 pm

Are you all right Edward? I’m a bit worried about you.

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Col B. March 2, 2014 at 4:14 pm

I may not know who Edward is, but I certainly got the point of what he’s saying. He’s referring to both the English monarch and the US government in which both are cabal elites (snakes). He should be making comments like this elsewhere on your blogs like anything to do with the state of the economy.

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BobinOz March 4, 2014 at 12:23 am

Hi Col B, I thought that was the kind of thing Edward was talking about, I simply couldn’t see the connection with this page. I’ve heard all about the shadowy elite, the illuminati and the reptilian bloodline, but I thought it was lizards not snakes?

Edward, you need to post your views on my page Kate and Wills Fever Down Under.

Cheers, Bob

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Col B. March 4, 2014 at 1:23 am

Lizards,yes, but not as in an expression like “Snakes”, Another expression is “Weasels”. These Lizard/reptilian bloodlines, according to conspiracy , are working with the elite cabal to try rid 80 to 90 per-cent of the world’s human population, the other 10 to 20 per-cent becoming slaves. Thus we have the expression that both the Elite and Reptilians are “Weasels” or “Snakes”.

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BobinOz March 5, 2014 at 12:29 am

Poor old snakes, they always seem to get dragged into this kind of thing when all they really want to do is keep themselves to themselves and maybe grab the odd small snack from nature now and again.

I think it even started in the Bible.

Doesn’t seem fair…

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Col B. March 5, 2014 at 3:35 am

I agree wholeheartedly. Those nutjobs in question likes the expression “Silent Killer” as their motto.

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Adrian March 10, 2014 at 12:59 pm

These stats are stupid, they don’t paint a real picture of the dangers of snakes. E.g If you don’t go outside when there is lighting, you won’t be hit, same goes for snakes, if you don’t go walking around a snakes habitat, you won’t be bitten. Most farmers in Australia get bitten by a venomous snake more than once in their life, because farmers work in the snakes habitat. Farmers don’t get hit by lighting too often, much rarer than a snake bite.

I know person who died in 2 minutes from a taipan bite, the taipan was huge, I call these taipans king taipans, one bite from one of these and you’re gone, lucky they only live in very secluded areas.

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BobinOz March 10, 2014 at 11:22 pm

Okay, so nationally recognised statistics are stupid, but you’re hearsay stories and tales from the outback are what we should all be paying attention to?

Nice one Adrian. :-)

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