Handler bitten by venomous snake
VETERAN snake handler Paul Jones had nothing but sympathy for the 1.5 metre red-bellied black snake that bit ‘just the very tip’ of his little finger on Monday.
“The poor thing,” he pined. “You know it’s had such a hard time.”
It turns out the snake had been bitten three times by a feisty Jack Russell, a family dog, at Westlawn on Friday.
But the stoush wasn’t all one-sided – the dog had to be treated by the vet with anti-venom and, at last report, was in good health.
Paul, who went and picked up the reptile on behalf of WIRES, and his cousin were treating the snake with some ointment on Monday morning when, just as it was being placed back in his bag, the agitated slitherer took a nip at Paul’s finger.
“I thought I had hold of him, but I must have just let him have a bit too much,” he said.
“It bled like a stuck pig and it throbbed for the rest of the day and into the night.”
But Paul felt none of the usual symptoms of a red-bellied black snake bite – nausea and headaches.
“They (hospital staff) wouldn’t let me go home,” he said. (Probably because the doctors and nurses wanted to make sure Paul could be called upon when a snake popped up in their back yard).
It is the third time Paul has been bitten by a snake – each time the biters have been red-bellied blacks and each time Paul was trying to place them back into bags.
One of the bites came as a result of a snake defecating while Paul was holding it.
“It started to poo and their poo really stinks so I threw it and as it left my hand it gave me a dry bite.”
Paul, who provides temporary homes to quite a few injured reptiles at his South Grafton suburban home, said he’d been handling snakes all his life – the venomous ones only for 30 years since he received training from the Herpetological Society.
But Paul’s wife Del doesn’t share Paul’s enthusiasm.
“I’ve got this beautiful python, I’ve had it for 20 years and she hasn’t touched it ... she’s crazy,” he said.