TWO teenage girls have been hospitalised after their encounter with a venomous nocturnal snake at Minnie Water.
Grafton Base Hospital confirmed both girls had been bitten by a snake and were in a stable condition at the hospital yesterday afternoon.
The body of a snake discovered near the attack site was taken with the girls to the hospital to help doctors with treatment.
National Parks and Wildlife Service personnel identified the dead snake as a Stephens' banded snake, a venomous species which is active at night.
Paramedics were called to the NPWS Illaroo Camping Grounds before midnight on Tuesday after a girl reported she had been bitten on the ankle by a snake.
Ambulance paramedics were at the hospital when the call came in and provided first aid information to the campers.
Paramedic Ron Sommers said the campers were advised to apply a compression bandage up the leg of the victim and keep her still.
Mr Sommer said while the paramedics were treating the girl, another teenager presented herself, saying she had also been bitten by a snake.
He said a black and white banded snake about 40cm long could be seen nearby.
Some boys presented Mr Sommer with the snake, minus its head, just before the ambulance left.
"When we got to her the girl was not exhibiting any symptoms of being envenomed," Mr Sommer said.
"But we could see two puncture marks on her ankle, so we were sure she had been bitten."
He said there was some confusion about the identity of the snake.
"Some people were saying it was a brown or a tiger snake. Others were saying it was two different snakes," Mr Sommer said.
He said neither girl showed symptoms of snake venom poisoning while in the ambulance, but hospital staff confirmed the presence of venom in their systems.
Mr Sommers said this could have been the result of excellent first aid applied to the girls from the moment they were aware they had been bitten.
"The first girl had an excellent compression bandage from her ankle to the top of the leg, which should have kept the venom out of her system," he said.
"She was also kept very still and not running around like an idiot, which is also very important to stop the venom pumping around the body."
NPWS spokesman Lawrence Orel said details were sketchy yesterday, but confirmed the attack took place in the Illaroo Camping Ground.
He said people who used NPWS camp sites were warned to be careful of creatures like snakes and spiders when they entered the camp sites.
Mr Orel said NPWS staff will interview family who were camping with the girls about the circumstances of the attack.
- Stephens' Banded Snake (Hoplocephalus stephensii)
- Grey to black with brown or cream crossbands. The lips are marked with dark vertical dashes. The belly is cream to grey. Grows to 1.2m. Largely nocturnal. Spends most of its time up trees.
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