Facts About Snakes

Some Facts about Snakes and Snake bite

  • Children are at higher risk for death or serious complications because of their smaller body size.
  • Snakes found in and near water are frequently mistaken as being poisonous.
  • A snake can actually bite for up to an hour after it is dead (from a reflex).
  • Although Australia is home to the largest number of venomous snakes in the world, it averages only one fatal snake bite per year.
  • Not all poisonous snakes are fully charged with venom.
  • Even those that are fully charged do not always inject a lethal dose.

Other factors that influence the possible seriousness of a snake bite include

  • The persons health, size, age, and psychological state.
  • The nature of the bite may also vary, like penetration of one or both fangs, the amount of venom injected, the location of the bite and proximity to major blood vessels.
  • The health of the snake and the interval since it last used its venom mechanism is also important.

These multiple variables make every bite unique. Depending on circumstances, the bite of a “mildly” venomous snake may be life-threatening and that of a “strongly” venomous snake may not.


Key facts

  • Though the exact number of snake bites is unknown, an estimated 5.4 million people are bitten each year with up to 2.7 million envenomings.
  • Around 81 000 to 138 000 people die each year because of snake bites, and around three times as many amputations and other permanent disabilities are caused by snakebites annually.
  • Bites by venomous snakes can cause paralysis that may prevent breathing, bleeding disorders that can lead to a fatal haemorrhage, irreversible kidney failure and tissue damage that can cause permanent disability and limb amputation.
  • Agricultural workers and children are the most affected. Children often suffer more severe effects than adults, due to their smaller body mass.