Venomous bites and stings 2017-18 report released from Australian Institute of Health and Welfare

 Copperhead snake. Photo: supplied
Copperhead snake. Photo: supplied

A Tasmanian snake expert has given his best tips to avoid being bitten by a slithery intruder, after the release of national data shows snakes were responsible for 17 per cent of hospitalisations.

Australia's slithery snake statistics from 2017-18 have been released in the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare's Venomous bites and stings report.

The report, released March 3, found venomous snakes were responsible for 606 cases of hospitalisations in Australia between 2017-18 and seven deaths.

Tasmanian snake catcher Ian Jessup said there was one thing that you could be certain of when it comes to snake behaviour:

"Fright drives bite," he said.

"If you do not frighten the snake it has no interest in you whatsoever."

Mr Jessup said if someone found themselves confronted with a snake they should back away if possible, as the snake only wants to be left alone.

"It is as frightened of us as we are of it," he said.

Snake wrangler Ian Jessup with a Tiger Snake. Picture: Supplied

Snake wrangler Ian Jessup with a Tiger Snake. Picture: Supplied

The AIHW report stated the majority of venomous snake bites that occurred were in and around people's homes, a fact that was echoed by Mr Jessup.

"I have removed quite a few [snakes] from houses this year," Mr Jessup said.

Tasmania only has three species of snake - Tiger, Copperhead, and White-lipped.

However, someone who has been bitten by one of these snakes does not have to know the type to receive anti-venom, as Tasmanian anti-venom treats all three bites.

When a snake is nervous, Mr Jessup said it would stand up in posture, which is the snake's way of frightening someone enough to make them leave.

"If you see a snake, leave it alone, and if you want to get rid of it, call a snake catcher who will get rid of it for you," he said.

In Tasmania, the reptiles are legally protected and therefore should not be killed unless in immediate danger.

Mr Jessup said if someone was bitten by a snake it was important to apply pressure with a bandage and stay totally immobilised - as venom is pumped through the lymphatic system by muscle movement.

Specific snake bandages are also available and have indicators to show when the bandage is applied correctly.

"Anyone in a snake prone area should have at least one or two with them," Mr Jessup said.

"A pressure bandage needs to be applied to a snake bite victim within minutes preferably."

This story Snake wrangler's top tips to dodge deadly bites first appeared on The Examiner.