Despite its slender build, the eastern brown snake is a fearsome predator. Growing up to 7 feet in length, the brown snake is the second most venomous in the world, the strength of its deadly venom exceeded only by that of the inland taipan. Just one bite can lead to hemorrhage, as the toxic bite causes coagulopathy resulting in excessive, prolonged bleeding. The brown snake’s venom is also capable of causing cardiovascular collapse and cardiac arrest.
Unsurprisingly, the deadly brown snake is found on the eastern side of Australia, home to all manner of terrifying snakes, spiders, and sea creatures. Among the countless nightmare-inducing wildlife down under, however, the eastern brown snake is among the most formidable. The slender snake is responsible for about 60% of human snake-bite deaths in Australia.
With all that in mind, the last place you want to find this fierce reptile is in a childcare center, but that’s exactly what happened last month in Brisbane. When teachers at the school spotted the venomous snake, they called snake handler Steve Brown of Brisbane North Snake Catchers and Relocation, who wasted no time rushing to the rescue.
“All rooms were quickly blocked off and the snake managed to slither into the office at reception,” Brown explained in a subsequent Facebook post. “When I arrived, they said it was on top of the office desk slithering around the computer and paperwork.”
Snake Expert Praises Childcare Staff for Handling of Venomous Snake Encounter
According to Steve Brown, the staff actually weren’t sure of the snake’s species when they called him. It’s fortunate they did, however, as the eastern brown snake is positively lethal. “It was so lucky the staff jumped into action, as this was an Eastern Brown (Pseudonaja textilis),” he added. “Capable of a fatal bite if handled or harassed.”
Thousands of snake bites occur in Australia every year. And while only one or two of them are fatal, they’re most often the result of the eastern brown snake.
“I was extremely worried knowing the species of snake it was and the place it was found in,” the venomous snake expert explained to Newsweek. “It could have turned back very quickly. But praise goes to the staff who stayed calm, secured the doors to each room where the kids were, and cordoned off that area [the] snake went and kept an eye on it until I arrived.”
“The catch took no longer than two minutes from the time I sighted it to catching and putting it in the bag,” Brown added. “The children had no idea what was going on as the staff was amazing with handling the situation.”
At first glance, the eastern brown snake didn’t appear menacing at all, its short two-foot length camouflaging its deadly abilities. Brown, however, has first-hand experience with the eastern brown’s venom and is fully aware of the danger. A mere scratch from a fang left him hospitalized.
“This put me in intensive care and almost killed me,” he said. “The precautions I take is – to treat every snake differently. No snake will act the same. I also carry a snake bite first aid kit with compression bandages in case of a bite.”