Snake Bite First Aid

Acquire basic first aid knowledge in the event of a snake bite.

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Snake Bite First Aid

The Sunshine Coast is home to a variety of snake species, some of which are venomous and can pose a risk to humans and pets. Knowing basic first aid in the event of a snake bite can be incredibly useful and life-saving. 

Treat any snake you encounter as venomous and, in the event of being bitten, apply the following tips but immediately call 000 to receive medical attention. Snake Rescue can provide experienced assistance in safely capturing and relocating a snake that enters your home or yard.

Spotted Python - close up of spotted python's back and markings
Yellow Faced Whip Snake

Applying First Aid When Bitten by a Snake

Our snake bite first aid tips are solely intended to provide Sunshine Coast residents with helpful insight into what you can do if you, a loved one, or a pet has been bitten by a snake. Seeking immediate medical attention remains a top priority and you should always call 000 or visit your nearest hospital or veterinarian in the event of a snake bite. Having this first aid knowledge on hand can help you perform the correct snake bite management actions if or when bitten. 

Snakes are a common sighting everywhere in Australia and, as such, snake bites are more common than one might think. Due to the prevalence of snake bites across the country, all major health organisations in Australia recommend the ‘pressure-immobilisation’ technique to help reduce symptoms and the movement of venom through the lymphatic system.

If You Have Been Bitten by a Snake

Do Not...

Snake bites are more likely to occur if you or a loved one intentionally try to engage with a snake. No matter the size, snakes are wild animals and, during any encounter with a snake, you should treat the snake as potentially venomous.

While it may seem wise to wash a snake bite, you should avoid doing this. Snake bites often have residual venom around the entry of the wound, which can be incredibly beneficial to have on hand when receiving medical attention.

This residual venom can help identify the species of snake that bit you or a loved one and medical experts can use a Venom Detection Kit to accurately identify the snake and administer the correct antivenin. Snake Rescue can also provide snake identification services in the event that the snake is still present in the home or within your garden.

Attempting to remove the venom yourself may worsen the situation. Trying to ‘suck’ the venom out will also not work as this can cause a secondary envenomation. 

Applying a tourniquet is especially dangerous in the events of snake bites. Although your goal may be to slow the spread of the venom, the pressure release experienced when removing the tourniquet may cause a rapid onset of symptomatic responses. 


Regardless of whether you are the person bitten or the one trying to apply first aid, it is important to remain calm. Keeping a level perspective on the situation will help ensure that any applicable first aid is applied and that medical authorities are contacted.

Instruct or contact 000 immediately. If you are alone and have to call 000 yourself, try to follow applicable first aid tips yourself while using the call loudspeaker option to alert medical specialists.

The type of first aid that can be applied in the event of a snake bite depends on the bite’s location. 

Snake bites on limbs:

  • Immobilise the person bitten and avoid moving them unnecessarily
  • Use a broad compression or crepe-style bandage to secure the bite; do not wrap this too tightly when wounding the bandage around a limb as the goal of this is not to restrict blood flow, but rather movement
  • Apply a rigid elongated splint (sticks, planks, tent pole – anything that is the right length) to bites on legs and secure bitten arms in a sling; both limbs should be completely immobile after this 


Snake bites on the body:

  • Immobilise the person bitten and avoid moving them unnecessarily
  • Maintain firm and consistent pressure on the location of the bite
  • Remain as immobile and still as possible until medical help arrives


Bites on the head or neck:

  • Immobilise the person bitten and avoid moving them unnecessarily
  • Basic first aid cannot be applied to bites on the head or neck and immediate medical attention should be obtained
  • Complete immobilisation is crucial for bites in these locations; keep the person or yourself as still as possible until medical help arrives

Calling 000 is vital to ensuring recovery from a snake bite from a venomous species. Call 000 yourself or instruct a bystander or family member to call for medical help immediately.

Snake Bite First Aid

How to Tell if a Snake is on Your Property

There are a few ways to tell if a snake has taken up residence in your home or garden. Like any animal, there are traces of snake activity that are left behind and can serve as indicators of not only the type of snake, but also its activity.

Here are some signs there may be a snake living in your garden, your roof, or within your property:

Many snake species – both venomous and non-venomous – moult or shed in order to grow bigger. If you come across shedded snake skin, there has likely been a snake in the area. This does not necessarily mean that they have remained there, however.

Snakes will seek out small, dark, and often damp places when searching for food, looking for a place to rest, or to hide in. Beneath flooring, within the ceiling or roof, or even unfrequented rooms in the house can quickly become snake hot-spots. If you hear strange thuds or other noises coming from non-inhabited spaces within your home, you may be dealing with a resident snake.

If you once suffered a mice or rat problem but haven’t seen any rodents lately – and you didn’t set traps for them specifically – your resident snake may have taken care of the problem! Snakes are notoriously adept at keeping pest numbers to a minimum.

Snake Bite First Aid

Sunshine Coast Snake Catching Services

When you see a snake on your premises, the most important thing is to keep an eye on it and take a photograph from a safe distance if possible. Getting a photo of the snake aids in identifying it and advising you whether the snake is hazardous to you, your pets, or your children.

Photos also aid us in our search and enable us to identify the snake and determine whether it is venomous or arboreal, among other things. It tells us whether we should be looking for it in trees and bushes or beneath rocks and substrate.

If the snake is non-venomous or weakly venomous, you might not mind having it around – snakes like the Cain toad-eating Keelback snake, or the “mobile mouse traps” carpet python and brown tree snakes, actually help keep your home and garden free of pests! If the snake is mildly venomous or highly venomous, we recommend removing it regardless of there being children and pets in the home.

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