Boy, 3, 'paralysed' after being bitten by snake during family picnic

Yahoo News Australia and agencies
·3-min read

A father of two is urging all parents to be cautious after his three-year-old son was bitten by an adder and left "paralysed".

Daniel Wise, from Addlestone in England’s south, took his son, Lewis, to Lightwater Country Park on last Sunday for a family picnic when the "horrifying" incident happened.

Lewis was playing and "messing about" in the grass searching for his plastic toy insects, which had been hidden around the 59-hectare park earlier that day.

Seconds later, Mr Wise heard "a massive scream" and discovered Lewis had been bitten by an adder, which was "perfectly camouflaged" in the foliage.

"We think he may have trod on it by accident and it latched onto his leg. It was instant and then he was in excruciating pain,” the 39-year-old said.

Lewis Wise (pictured) in a hospital bed after being bitten by a snake. His dad, Daniel, has issued a warning.
A father of two is urging all parents to be cautious after his three-year-old son, Lewis (pictured), was bitten by an adder and left "paralysed". Source: BPM MEDIA/Australscope

"We were trying to keep his heart rate low. You have to keep your children calm because the faster your heart pumps, the quicker the venom goes around your body. We took him to St Peter's Hospital.

"His whole leg swelled up and it went all the way up to his groin area. His foot has basically gone black, it's all swollen and bruised."

Lewis spent the night at St Peter's Hospital and was transferred to St George's Hospital in Tooting on Monday, where he saw a skin specialist.

He was given three vials of anti-venom and is currently on morphine, but it is not known how long he will have to remain in hospital.

Mr Wise explained Lewis might need surgery to "relieve the pressure" in his leg and subsequent physiotherapy to help him walk after he has recovered.

"He has been really brave, but the swelling is so big; he is paralysed and can't move at the moment,” the dad said.

"When he comes out of St George's he will have to go back to St Peter's again and then maybe even have physio afterwards.

"A lot of people think that adders are not that bad, but if you're bitten, it can be really serious. Everyone reacts differently, but it's serious."

The snake bite on Lewis Wise's ankle. He was bitten in Lightwater Country Park.
Lewis was bitten by an adder in Lightwater Country Park last Sunday. Source: BPM MEDIA/Australscope

‘Amazing camouflage’ makes adders hard to see

Mr Wise keeps and breeds snakes as a hobby and explains adders are Britain's only venomous snake.

He said the snakes were cold-blooded and would typically bask in the sun to gain energy.

But their "amazing camouflage" makes them difficult to spot.

According to Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust, 50 to 100 people are bitten by adders every year, as well as about 100 dogs.

Human fatalities are exceptionally rare, however there have been 14 recorded deaths from adder bites since 1876, with the last being in 1975.

Mr Wise is now urging all parents to be aware of the potential dangers and wants councils to put up warning signs about adders in parks across the county.

"Due to COVID-19, we have not been going to these places and now all of our paths are crossing again,” he added.

"These country parks that you can go to, there are no warning signs and the kids are playing about – it's pretty bad really.

"People should not be going near them or trying to catch them, they should be left alone. Parents need to be aware of the dangers."

– Australscope

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