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Hiker picks up deadly snake, brings it home to show kids

A snake catcher said the story is a 'learning curve' all Aussies should be aware of.

A hiker is "extremely lucky" to be alive after he mistook a deadly snake for a non-venomous python and was bitten by the wild animal as he captured it to show to his kids later.

The man was hiking with several friends on Wednesday in the NSW Southern Highlands when he came across the venomous broad-headed snake and decided to take it home.

He apparently "didn't think anything of it" when the snake bit him and continued to travel along the trail — without first aid or antivenom — before returning home. Hours later, he was sent to the hospital emergency department.

Left, the snake coiled up beside a jar and boardgames. Right, the man shows his swollen hand to camera with the red bite mark visible.
The hiker became 'violently' unwell after he mistook a broad-headed snake for a non-venomous python. Source: Facebook

"The hiker ended up in hospital after violently vomiting for three hours and [had] a large swollen hand," Southern Highlands Snake Catcher Ray McGibbon wrote online. "The hiker is feeling extremely lucky. It could of ended up a lot worse than it did."

After six hours the hiker was sent home to recover. It is believed no one else was injured.

Broad-headed snake bites are 'potentially fatal', snake catcher says

Medical staff contacted McGibbon for identification of the snake species, whose bites can "potentially cause fatalities".

"The broad-headed snake venom is neurotoxic," he explained, saying he had later attended the hiker's residence to collect the snake and safely return it to the area where it was taken from.

McGibbon warned others the man's experience highlights a "learning curve" he believes every Aussie should be mindful of. "If you see a snake or any reptile in the wild, admire it in its own habitat, take photos or a video but please DO NOT try and capture it or take it home," he said.

It is illegal to remove animals from their natural habitat in NSW, with individuals requiring a permit issued from NSW Department of Planning and Environment to do so.

The best survival tip is prevention

Minimising the chances of being bitten by a snake at all is the best tactic to avoid dangerous bites. The idea of steering clear and not interacting with them in their natural habitat was echoed by another snake catcher, who also advised obtaining knowledge on local species within your area.

"Do your homework on what snakes are around you," Mathew Hampton told Yahoo News Australia previously. "If you only think about where you live and where you go, you can probably narrow that down to maybe two or three venomous snakes."

Hampton recommends for nature lovers to equip themselves with snake bite kits in the off chance they are bitten and first aid is required.

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Yahoo Australia