Tuesday, 24 September 2019

With warmer weather upon us it’s not only us humans getting out and about in nature, our animal friends are coming out of hibernation too.

Snakes and spiders are beautiful creatures but not everyone feels affection for them. Either way, it’s a good time of year to equip yourself and family members with tips to manage bites and learn a little about these fascinating creatures.

The Northern Beaches has dozens of snake species, including land and sea snakes. In bushland, on beaches and even in backyards you might spot a snake, and although most are unlikely to inflict a wound that could lead to serious illness or death you need to be prepared in case you, someone you know or a pet is bitten. Local snakes you need to be especially mindful of are the eastern brown snake, tiger snake, death adder, black snake, yellow faced whip snake, small eyed snake and, although very rare, the broad headed snake.

Spiders are also everywhere at this time of year and mostly we live side by side in relative peace. But we all know to steer clear of the red backs in the shed, and the funnel webs and mouse spiders which live in and around the ground.

Top safety tips

Follow these tips to stay safe around our snakes and spiders this spring and summer.

Snake bite

Spider bite

  • Leave the snake alone! Most snake bites happen when people try to kill or capture them. If you come across a snake, don't panic. Back away to a safe distance and let it move away. Snakes often want to escape when disturbed.
  • If bitten, call an ambulance immediately
  • Don't panic and don't move a bitten person or animal
  • Apply a pressure immobilisation bandage and splint
  • Don't wash, suck, cut or tourniquet the bite.


Big black spider bite*
*Likely funnel web or mouse spider

  • Call an ambulance immediately
  • Apply a pressure immobilisation bandage
  • Keep the victim from moving around
  • Keep the bitten limb down
  • Bandage the limb from the area of the bite to the hand or foot, then back up to the body
  • Immobilise the limb by splinting if possible
  • Tell the victim to keep calm
  • Do not move them at all
  • Wait for the ambulance

Other spider bites

For all other spider bites, including from red-backed spiders, apply a cold compress or ice pack directly over the bite site to help relieve the pain. Seek medical assistance if further symptoms or signs of infection develop.


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