If just one thing hadn’t gone according to plan for Redlands snake catcher Ben Avery two Thursdays ago, he’d be dead for sure.

The veteran snake trader was feeding his highly venomous East Tiger snake at his home in Birkdale when he was bitten on the hand.

“I fed some baby snakes before and the smell of the mice is in the air,” said Avery.

He said when it was time to feed his “greedy guts” tiger snake, the third most poisonous species in the country, he launched it and grabbed his thumb.

“When tiger snakes are in feeding mode, they hold on. It was about half a second before I could take it off.”

He and his wife Melissa had tried first aid for a venomous snake bite over and over when they decided to keep venomous snakes, but never once thought they would ever need it.

“I’ve kept venomous snakes for four years and researched them more, and I’ve never heard of anyone knocked over so quickly,” said Avery, who is fit, six feet tall and weighs 110 pounds.

“Melissa put bandages on within 30 seconds of the bite while she was on the ambulance phone,” Avery said.

“I stayed 100 percent calm and lay in the lounge, as in all of the many courses and research I’d done over the past six out of seven years to learn about venomous snake bites.

“I’ve been told by a lot of people, contortionists who were bitten and held snakes, videos, first aid courses … just … do first aid, you have time, come to the hospital. No drama.

Mr Avery said the time the bite happened when he became critically ill was “scary” and had it not been for his wife, “the lights would have been off”.

“My platelets were falling so low that I was bleeding like a stuck pig and ended up needing four blood transfusions.

Mr Avery, who will be on kidney dialysis for another three or four weeks, said without the calm and perfectly executed reaction at home he would not have survived the bite, which took effect much faster than he ever expected.

“The PA Hospital toxicology team said it was the worst bite ever, and they are actually doing a case study on me for future reference for others in this drama.

“Thank you to the Queensland Ambulance Service, Redlands Hospital and the PA Hospital Kidney Team for saving my life. Not to mention my wife Melissa for providing the ultimate in life saving first aid.

Mr Avery, who is also a father, said he no longer kept poisonous snakes.


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