South coast snake season warning on back of record year

Albany Advertiser

St John Ambulance has issued a warning for Great Southern residents as the region heads into peak snake season.

Paramedics treated a dozen snake bite patients in the Great Southern in 2018-19 in a year which saw Statewide cases reach a record high.

In 2018-19, paramedics treated 169 people for snake bites in WA, compared with 104 the year before.

October was the second-worst month for bites with temperatures rising and snakes becoming more active.

Get in front of tomorrow's news for FREE

Journalism for the curious Australian across politics, business, culture and opinion.


More than 66 per cent of cases happened in regional WA, with the Wheatbelt (31) topping the list.

Denmark recorded two snake bite victims, placing it in the top 20 suburbs in the State.

St John WA first aid general manager Aaron Harding urged all Great Southern residents to learn snake bite first aid.

“In the past 12 months we’ve seen a marked increase in snake bite emergency calls to the point where paramedics likely treated more people last year than any other period on record,” Mr Harding said.

“Five of the world’s 10 most venomous snakes live in Australia and unfortunately there are still many myths surrounding snake bite treatment.

“Our message is simple, but could be lifesaving — know first aid, even it’s at a fairly basic level.

“Obviously the first and most important thing if you’re bitten by a snake is to call triple-0, even if you’re unsure of the snake type.

“People should lie flat, remain as calm and still as possible, and then bandage the bite, starting from the fingers or toes and wrapping upwards.”

Common snake bite symptoms include headaches, blurred vision, nausea, drowsiness and difficulty breathing, speaking or swallowing.

Mr Harding said the St John First Responder smartphone app could dial triple-0 and give operators a GPS location.

“The First Responder app is an incredibly important resource to have,” he said.

“If you’re in a remote location with no phone reception, the app will still display GPS coordinates which can be verbally relayed to the emergency operator.”

“It’s also important that if you are going walking in bush areas, make sure you take a first aid kit with you.”

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails