Brown Snake Envenomation


First Aid for brown snake envenomation is pressure-immobilisation

Brown snake is widespread outside urban areas, and particularly common around buildings in rural environments. The group is the most important in terms of fatalities, being responsible for more deaths in the last twenty-five years than any other group. The fact that brown snakes are very fast-moving also adds degree to the danger they present. While all snakes are generally variable in appearance, brown snakes are remarkably so, leading to possible problems with identification.

Among the toxins contained in their venom is a very potent presynaptic neurotoxin, one of the strongest of toxins found in snakes. The venom also contains a postsynaptic neurotoxin and a procoagulant. Unlike the venom of most dangerous Australian elapids, that of brown snakes has littles or no myolytic activity.

Signs and Symptoms

Early collapse, a few minutes after the bite, is not infrequent in cases of brown snake envenomation, possibly due to haemostatic disturbance resulting from coagulopathy. Bloods will typically indicate prolonged clotting times. Thrombocytopenia is also evident from haematology. One diagnostically distinct feature of brown snake enevenomation is the absence of rhabdomyolysis, which in cases involving other species manifests as myoglobinuria. Coagulopathic effects can also result in disseminated intravascular coagulopathy, putting the patient at risk of cerebrovascular accident.


First aid for brown snake envenomation consists of a pressure bandage and immobilisation. In cases where a pressure bandage has been applied correctly, it can be left in situ indefinitely while the patient is feeling no discomfort as a result. If it becomes appropriate to remove a pressure bandage, it is necessary to have antivenom and haemostatic support ready. In severe cases, a patient may require ventilatory support.

Brown Snake Antivenom

It is generally accepted that the initial treatment for syptomatic brown snake envenomation involves administration of two ampoules of monovalent Brown Snake Antivenom. Brown snake antivenom supplied by CSL Ltd is equine in origin.

The Australian Brown Snakes


Australian Serpents: The Brown Snakes Chapter

Australia's unique topography and varied seasons makes it a  haven to some of the world's most fascinating creatures, snakes in particular. These slithering reptiles are often a subject of fear and misconception. To others, snakes come as a fascinating creature, full of mystery and secrets waiting to be uncovered. Australia hosts hundreds of snake species, and today this article will focus on the Brown Snakes, which demands respect and caution when encountered.

Australian Brown Snakes 1: Eastern Brown Snake

Brown snakes have a nature of being easily alarmed, and may strike when approached or threatened. Half of its bite contain venom, and minimal effects are determined at the spot where its fangs have sunk. One of the brown snake's venom effects is sudden, early collapse of the victim. Other clinical signs include abdominal pain, breathing and swallowing difficulty, convulsions, ptosis, hemolysis, hypotension from depression of myocardial contractility, renal failure.

The Eastern Brown Snake is the most toxic member of the genus and second of the most toxic land snake in the world (The Inland Taipan sits in the first place, and also found in Australia).

Australian Brown Snakes 2: King Brown Snake a.k.a Mulga Snake

Mulga snakes are large venomous snakes growing from 2.5 metres to 3 metres in length. Depending on its areal extent, mulga snakes can be of a light brown contrast in the desert to a dark brown-blackish color in the cooler parts of Queensland, South Australia, and New South Wales. Mulga snakes are robust with a wide head and smooth snout. They have the highest yield of all Australian venomous snakes.

Australian Brown Snakes 3: Taipan

Taipans can grow 6½ to 11 feet long (2 to 3.6 meters). They are found mostly along the non-desert areas of north and north-east Australia (from Brisbane stretching to Darwin). Taipans are timid, large, and slender snake. They may be colored any shade of brown and they have a rectangular head and red eye.

Taipan's venom output is high and causes neurotoxicity, coagulopathy, and rhabdomyolysis. Paralysis is difficult to reverse unless treated early. Without treatment, one taipan's good bite would mean death to its victims.

Australian Brown Snakes 4: Austrelaps (Lowland Copperhead)

The Lowland Copperhead nests in the drier parts of Tasmania, also south-west Tasmania. Lowland copperheads in mainland Australia dwells in the far south-eastern corner of South Australia and over much of southern Victoria. Austrelaps produce 15-30 live young. The young are independent right after  birth and equipped with venom, which is potent enough to be considered dangerous to humans.

Australian copperheads are medium in size (about 4.5 to 5.5 ft) and are moderately built. Their skin color varies from a coppery mid-brown to yellowish, reddish, grey or even black (depending on  individual snakes).

Brown snakes, like most reptiles, will attack when threatened, and not for the sake of showing supremacy  of their unique characteristic and design. Therefore, an encounter with these creatures needs a lot of caution, information, and respect.

Brown Snakes

Fatal Four

Australia's Deadliest Snakes

Apart from its fantastic beaches, the world famous Sydney Opera House, and surfing sites, Australia is also famous for nesting deadly animals, venomous snakes in particular. While most people flinch upon the mention of these exotic creatures, others have gone to full extent of studying their nature and their contribution to Australia's diverse ecosystem. This fearless research has led to the discovery of four of Australia's deadliest snakes.

Australia's Deadliest Snakes 1: Inland Taipan

While the Inland Taipan has the most potent venom of any land snake on earth, it is surprisingly shy in nature. It's venom is overwhelmingly potent that the nervous system is severely affected when in the bloodstream. Symptoms are vomiting, flaccid paralysis, and eventual respiratory paralysis - simply one of Australia's deadliest snakes.

The Inland Taipan dwells in rat burrows (and had probably eaten its tenants). They are also found in deep soil cracks and sink holes, sometimes in rock crevices and deep fissures. The snake's favorite food is mostly small to medium-sized mammals. They are most active on the surface in the early half of the morning when it bask. During cooler temperatures, it's active in the afternoon, and in hot weather it shifts as a nocturnal.

Australia's Deadliest Snakes 2: Eastern Brown Snake

There can be only one snake that comes in mind when words like who's-responsible-for-most-deaths-caused-by-snakebite-in-Australia, and that is the Eastern Brown Snake. Even with the efficient first-aid treatment and anti-venom aids, still there one or two deaths every year.

A large adult brown snake may exceed two meters in length. They can move at surprising speed on hot days. Eastern Brown Snake has a slender body and varies in color ranging from uniform tan to grey or dark brown. Their belly is cream, yellow, or pale orange with darker orange spots.

Spring finds male brown snakes engaged in a ritualized combat dance with one snake trying to dominate and dethrone each other. Like with other animal rituals, the triumphant will have the right to  mate with the females, who will then lay up to 30 eggs in late spring or in the beginning of summer.

Australia's Deadliest Snakes 3: Coastal Taipan

Coastal Taipans are large snakes dwelling in Australia, Irian Jaya, and Papua New Guinea. They are fast diurnal types that track down their prey in a quick and efficient method. The coastal taipan comes in a pale to dark brown in color and black fading to a lateral cream, although juveniles are lighter in color.

Australia's Deadliest Snakes 4: Mainland Tiger Snake

Tiger snakes give live birth, usually between 12 - 40. Tiger Snakes prefer to live close to water where they feed primarily on frogs.

Tiger snake's potent neurotoxin (notexin) makes it one of the world's deadliest snake species. You know you're bitten when you feel symptoms like pain in the foot and neck region, tingling, numbness, and sweating, proceeded by rapid onset of breathing difficulties and paralysis. The aforementioned factors were enough to simply categorize the tiger snake as one of Australia's deadliest snakes.

Australia's Deadliest Snakes

Australian Venomous Snake


Snake Identification

Did you know that 20 of the 25 most venomous snakes in the world are found in Australia?

Australia is the only continent where venomous snakes (70%) outnumber non-venomous ones. Australia's deadliest snakes are the brown snakes (responsible for around 60% of deaths caused by snakebite) and the venomous land snake on Earth (tested on mice) is the Inland Taipan found in arid regions of central Australia.

Snake Identification 101

According to Tropical Topics newsletter produced by Stella Martin at the Queensland Environmental Protection Agency, there are six main snake families in Australia--elapids (venomous snakes, the largest group), colubrids ( mostly 'harmless' snakes) pythons, blindsnakes, file snakes and sea snakes.

Snake Identification: Serpent Classification

A major classification of Australian venomous snakes taken from the University of Sydney Discipline of Anaesthesia community articles include Brown Snake, (Eastern, Gwardir, Dugite), Taipan, Tiger Snake, Death Adder, Copperhead, King Brown Snake (Mulga snake), Redbellied Black Snake, Rough Scaled Snake, and Inland Taipan (Small Scaled snake).

Snake Identification: Snakes and Venoms

Snake identification or description is very crucial because not all snakes are venomous, and because different kinds of anti-venom exist for every specie of snake. For snake identification, doctors may use a Snake Venom Detection Kit (SVDK) to examine the traces of venom left in the bitten area.

It is estimated that between 50,000 and 60,000 people die of snake bite each year around the world. By comparison, in Australia, it is estimated snakebites incidence are between 3 and 18 per 100,000 with an average mortality rate of 4 per 100,000 every year.

Snake Identification: Death and Causes

Some deaths are sudden, however it is uncommon to die within four hours of a snake bite. If untreated, high levels of venom could cause death in a short time. Despite of this, very few deaths result from snake bites because of the availability and wide access to anti-venom in recent years.

Snake venoms are a complex mixture of polypeptide and other molecules that adversely affect multiple homeostatic systems within their prey in a highly specific and targeted manner. Amongst the most potently toxic venoms in the world are these major Australian venomous snakes, and so snake identification has become a crucial part of survival among the snake-bite victims.

Snake Identification: Impact on Culture

These hypercarnivore reptiles are celebrated for centuries in history and religion as a highly-symbolic animal. Modern studies have been made to understand there biology and behavior. Snakes are shy by nature and will only bite animals or humans if they feel threatened or looking for food. Subsequently, most snakebites occur when people try to catch or kill them.

Snake Identification