Snake Bites

A western brown snake coiled up on red stones

As cold blooded reptiles, snakes are not able to regulate their body temperature, therefore they rely on the sun and warm air for their body heat. For this reason it's most likely that you will see snakes active throughout spring and summer.

Australia is home to some 140 species of land snakes and around 32 species of sea snakes. Out of these 172 different species about 100 snakes are venomous, with roughly 12 species that are likely to cause death if bitten. Some of these include the brown snake, Tiger snake, Black snake, Copperhead snake and Rough Scaled snakes. However, most snake bites occur when people try to capture them or kill them.

The easiest way to avoid a snake bite is to stay a safe distance away and let it move away. Nevertheless, should someone be bitten by a snake would you know the signs and symptoms and what to do? Throughout Australia, there are approximately 1 to 4 deaths a year from snake bites.

Signs and Symptoms of a snake bite include:

  • A bite sight
  • Pain around the bite sight
  • Burning, tingling or abnormal feeling of the skin
  • Abnormal heartbeat and pain
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Nausea or vomiting

Treatment for a snake bite:

  • Follow your primary survey (DRSABCD)
  • Contact 000 immediately
  • Talk to, and reassure the patient
  • Restrict movement as much as possible
  • Apply a pressure immobilisation bandage (if able to, mark the bite site with a pen)

Pressure Immobilisation Technique 

A PIT (Pressure Immobilisation Technique) should be completed by doing the following:

  • Immediate pressure over the bite site
  • Apply a broad pressure bandage (10-15cm wide) firmly over the bite site
  • Starting from the extremity (fingers or toes), bandage towards the torso or as much of the limb as possible
  • Apply a splint to prevent movement

Identification of the venomous snake can be made from remaining venom on clothing or skin (so don’t wash the bite site).

It is also important to remember that snake venom is predominantly spread through the lymphatic system rather than the circulatory system. Therefore, a tourniquet is ineffective and often makes the situation worse.


This information is NOT a substitute for first aid training. Royal Life Saving Society WA recommends that everyone is trained in first aid and CPR. 

Why Learn first aid and CPR?

Learning first aid can save lives. People die every day from sudden cardiac arrest, because family members, friends, and bystanders don't know how to respond effectively. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (or CPR) is easy to learn, and our training is available all over the Perth and regional areas of Western Australia to instruct people how to deal with cardiac arrest, and many other life threatening emergencies. Learning first aid is a simple way to save a life. You can prepare yourself to act in an emergency by attending one of our many first aid training courses. Please remember that "Everyone can be a lifesaver".

Explore more button

Why you should update your CPR skills.

image of two hands performing cpr

Research shows a person's skills in CPR decrease by 50% after just two months if they haven't practised the skill. Update your CPR certificate now!

Explore more button

 

Blue HS1 Heartstart defibrillator unit

Save over $400

HeartStart HS1 First Aid Defibrillator on sale until 28th February 2019!

View products button

 

 

First Aid Kit With Items

Great Deals on First Aid Kits!

Find the right first aid kit for your lifestyle.

View products button