Be Prepared with our Guide to Snake Bite First Aid

First aid - 11 Apr 2023

Queenslanders are being warned to remain vigilant with snakes still very active over the Easter school holidays.

Each year, around 3000 people are bitten by snakes, with one of Australia’s most renowned native animals, the deadly brown snake more active over summer and autumn.

The reminder comes following the death of a Queensland father-of-two from a snake bite in January 2023.

It’s believed the man in his 60s was attempting to relocate a brown snake at his property when he was bitten.

There are up to 100 species of venomous snakes throughout Australia, and a bite can cause moderate to severe symptoms in humans.

There isn’t enough snake tracking in Queensland to know whether their populations are growing or dropping, according to snake experts.

However, St John Ambulance Queensland First Aid Trainer David McTaggart warns that all snakebites must be treated seriously.

“One of the most important things if you happen to be bitten by a snake is to remove yourself from further danger and potentially more bites. Don’t try to catch the animal, don’t try to suck out the venom, it doesn’t work.”

“The first thing is to remove yourself from danger and try to immobilise yourself, so you are not moving around at all. The less muscle movement the better, you do not want to spread the venom through your lymphatic system then ultimately into the circulation system.”

“If you have a St John Ambulance Queensland First Aid Kit or St John Snake Bite kit with a pressure bandage it is important to apply pressure trying not to wash away the possible venom, mark the bite site, then apply some good firm pressure to slow the flow of the venom through the lymphatic system.”

To Avoid Snakes altogether over the School Holidays follow these tips:

“It is important to avoid any long grass, any open isolated non frequented areas, they like to hover around the edges of warm objects, under houses and around structures. Snakes tend to keep to themselves unless you agitate them, so it is best to create vibration by walking heavily or stamping your feet, stay on designated paths, don’t wander off the beaten track – and you should be alright.”

More Tips From St John Ambulance Queensland to deal with Snakes: 

When a snake successfully injects venom through a bite, it will travel through the lymphatic system to the bloodstream. From here it can have serious consequences on the nerves and muscles which can then cause paralysis.

If a person collapses from a snake bite and does not seem to be breathing you must immediately provide CPR.

1. Roll them onto their back
2. Check there is nothing in their mouth and the airway is clear
3. Apply 30 compressions
4. Provide 2 breaths
5. Repeat compressions and breaths at a rate of 30:2 until help arrives or the casualty starts breathing


Snakebites do not always cause visible signs and symptoms.

The onset of symptoms may also be delayed so if a snake bite occurs always seek medical assistance.


Throughout snake season you must always be aware of your surroundings – don’t walk in long grass, check your shoes if left outside and always look when walking through shrubbery. Snakes generally only bite humans if they are provoked, so if you sight a snake, steer clear and stand still to avoid aggravating the reptile.

Snake bites can be distressing if you are not prepared or are not confident in providing snake bite first aid. Although some of the most poisonous snakes in the world inhabit Australia’s backyard, it’s important to remember that dying from a snake bite is extremely rare so always remain calm and provide reassurance to the casualty.

By following our snake bite first aid tips and keeping a Snakebite First Aid kit handy, you can guarantee this season you will be ready if a snake strikes.