Man Hospitalized After Stepping on ‘Secretive’ Deadly Snake in His Own Home

A man has been hospitalized after stepping on a highly venomous snake in his own home in Australia.

Before going to hospital, the man caught the snake in a jar so that he could show his doctors what had bitten him.

Snake-catcher Drew Godfrey was then called to the scene in Hervey Bay, in Queensland, to remove the deadly reptile.

Photo of the Eastern small-eye snake after it was caught. The snakes are small but deadly, and an Australian homeowner was hospitalized after an incident with one specimen.
Drew Godfrey/Hervey Bay Snake Catchers

Eastern small-eyes can grow to nearly 40 inches long, although the Australian Museum estimates their average length to be more like 20 inches. Their venom is a potent myotoxin that attacks the muscle tissue, including the heart muscle, for days after envenomation, the injection of the poison.

“We were told over the phone that it was a juvenile red bellied black,” Godfrey said in a Facebook post. “Being late at night, our suspicions were that it wasn’t a small red belly, but a smaller and much more venomous species, the eastern small eyed snake. Upon arrival our suspicions were confirmed.”

Godfrey told Newsweek that the man seemed to be in fairly “good spirits,” given the circumstances.

The snake was only 11 to 16 inches long, but its bite can be fatal if left untreated. “[Eastern small eyes] are quite common but very small, secretive and nocturnal so they are rarely seen,” Godfrey said. “They are highly venomous but toxicity is believed to vary between populations.”

The Eastern small-eyed snake can be found along the east coast of Australia, from Cape York to Melbourne. Their dark pink under-belly, coupled with their shiny blue-black body, often leads them to being mistaken for juvenile red-bellied black snakes, one of the most commonly encountered snakes on the east coast of Australia.

Eastern small eye caught in hospital
Photo of Godfrey removing the snake from the jar in hospital. The reptile attacked a homeowner in Queensland, Australia, and the man needed hospitalization.
Drew Godfrey/Hervey Bay Snake Catchers

When disturbed, the snakes are known to thrash about aggressively to ward off any threats, but bites are very rare. “Although highly venomous, Eastern small eyed snakes are very gentle and placid animals that are reluctant to bite,” Godfrey said. “Bites from this species are rare and only occur if someone harasses [the snake] or hurts it.

“Because the man stepped on it, that would have hurt the snake. So the snake bit him in self defense. Had he stepped next to it instead, it wouldn’t have bitten but instead have scurried away. Snakes don’t attack people. They are defensive, not aggressive. Just because an animal is venomous, doesn’t mean it’s evil!”

If you are ever bitten by a snake, timely treatment can be lifesaving. “Thankfully [the man has] done the right thing and gone to hospital,” Godfrey said. “With the correct first aid and medical treatment, it’s actually hard to die from snake bites these days, so old mate should hopefully be just fine.”

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