An interstate tourist has died from a venomous snake bite while camping in the Northern Territory’s Garig Gunak Barlu National Park in the Coburg Peninsula.
The 68-year-old man, who was travelling with a friend, was bitten by a western brown snake and died last Wednesday.
A spokesperson for the Northern Territory’s Parks and Wildlife said the man had gone to the park’s ranger station to find help after receiving the bite.
“The man presented to the Ranger Station and treatment immediately commenced in consultation with the District Medical Officer and CareFlight,” the spokesperson said.
“Sadly the man lost consciousness and later died.”
Western brown snakes have been known to be aggressive and are the ninth most lethal snake on the planet.
Parks and Wildlife and CareFlight have been contacted for further comment.
Venomous snakes on the move
Territory Wildlife Park life sciences supervisor Matthew Lamb has been working with snakes both nationally and internationally for more than 20 years.
He said the western brown was a highly venomous snake that would be moving about more as the weather warmed up in the Top End.
“Like all of our venomous snakes, their numbers have dropped with the introduction of cane toads, but they are still about,” he said.
“This time of year it is definitely going to be more common to see these reptiles out and about after the dry season.
“They are starting to breed at this time of the year, leading into the wet and the warm weather, being cold-blooded snakes, they are generally on the move a lot more.”
Mr Lamb said the best thing to do if you encountered a snake was to leave them plenty of space.
“They will definitely try to move away from you,” he said.
“Be aware that they are out and about, and protect yourself with leather boots and long pants.
“The best way to react if you have been bitten is to take it as a worst-case scenario and contact medical help.”
He said pressure bandages are also an effective treatment at slowing down the venom from reaching the bloodstream.