Thursday, January 16, 2014

Snake bit man 45 minutes after he'd chopped it in half

Jake Thomas nearly died after being bitten by a dead snake in a cemetery. He thought there would be no risk of a bite from a red-bellied black snake 45 minutes after cutting it in half. He was wrong. The "dead" snake turned on the 66-year-old and bit him twice on the hand.

Mr Thomas, a volunteer who mows the local cemetery at Werris Creek in New South Wales, Australia, where his daughter Kim is buried, came across the snake during his usual clean-up. It was in a vase on a headstone. Fearful about other people's safety, Mr Thomas cut the snake in half.

He thought the strike had killed the snake, so he left to finish off the rest of the cemetery maintenance. About 45 minutes later he came back to get rid of the snake. "I put my hand in the vase to pick it up and it grabbed on to me even though it was dead," Mr Thomas said. "I pulled my hand out and saw two little marks and knew it had got hold of me."

YouTube link. Many thanks to Sharyn for the video link!

He was taken to the local hospital before being transferred to nearby Tamworth Hospital, where he was given antivenene and spent two days in intensive care. "My hand swelled up for a week," he said. "I won't be going near a snake dead or not for a long time now." Australian Reptile Park curator Liz Vella said people who killed snakes or came across a dead one should not treat it as though it was dead. Snakes retained their bite reflex and could still be venomous for up to an hour after death.


Anonymous said...

Man, I thought the aphorism that Australia was a place "where everything is trying to kill you" was a bit of an exaggeration.

As even dead snakes appear to take their revenge, I'll have to re-evaluate that summation!


Sharyn said...

I saw him interviewed on Sunrise, he's a funny bugger. The video is online at

Barbwire said...

I just saw a piece yesterday saying that 80-year-old snake venom was still deadly.

arbroath said...

Heh heh, thanks for the link, Sharyn! :)