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Herps In The News Local or national articles where reptiles or amphibians have made it into the news media. Please cite sources.

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Old 10-21-2022, 03:49 PM   #1
Little Girl Playing With Deadly Snake on Video Was 'Extremely Lucky'

An 11-year-old girl has filmed herself picking up one of the most dangerous snakes in Australia, horrifying experts.

In the video, the young girl can be seen holding the small snake, which can be seen slithering in her fingers. The girl says in the video that she believes the snake to be a garter snake—a small, harmless species.

"This is an extremely dangerous eastern brown snake. The girl in the video is extremely lucky that she wasn't bitten by the snake and her parents should probably go and buy a lottery ticket," the snake catcher wrote in the Facebook post.

Eastern brown snakes are highly venomous and responsible for most snake bite deaths in Australia.

They are small unassuming snakes, meaning many people could mistake them for other harmless species. Like most snakes, they do not bite unless threatened. But the eastern brown snake is known for being nervous, meaning they are more likely to bite.

"She was lucky not to have been bitten. While every herpetologist will caution children and adults from handling snakes, especially species they are not familiar with, the footage does provide some insight into snake behavior," Dr. Damian Michael, a herpetologist and senior research fellow in ecology at Charles Sturt University in Australia, told Newsweek.

"They will only attempt to bite if threatened and as she isn't roughly handling the snake by squeezing it or grabbing it by the tail, the snake doesn't appear to be threatened. Some religious cultures even handle snakes in their ceremonies (although bites and fatalities are reported). Her calm demeanor and careful handling may have prevented what could have been a tragic incident."

Michael also said the snake appeared to be a juvenile. He said a recent study found them to have different compositions of venom proteins than adults. This means that anti-venom made from adult snakes may not be as effective.

Michael added that this video highlights the need for better education about snakes in the country.

"'The only good snake is a dead snake' is a mantra that unfortunately is still very much alive in Australia and around the world. Snakes play crucial roles in the ecosystem and should be respected but not feared, and of course should never be picked up by anyone without the appropriate training or wildlife license," Michael said.

While this snake did not bite the little girl, Australian toxicologist Ken Winkel of the School of Population and Global Health in Melbourne, told Newsweek that it can inflict fatal bites.

"The venom is dominated by powerful blood clot-inducing toxins. The bites can result in rapid collapse and sudden death within minutes of the bites – thought to be associated with reduced blood flow to the heart caused by these clotting factors," Winkel said.

"These patients sometimes recover from the collapse, and unconsciousness, to exhibit unclottable blood. This can lead to uncontrolled bleeding into the gut or brain with deadly consequences. This bleeding tendency is because the powerful clotting factors, made up of enzymes, use up all the clotting proteins in the blood leaving the patient vulnerable to major bleeds."

Winkel said that eastern brown snakes also possess very small fangs.

"Consequently it can be difficult to note a bite site and such bites may be overlooked by the victim until it is too late," he said.

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Old 10-21-2022, 04:01 PM   #2
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