Snake Bites and Myths: Debunking Common Misconceptions

Monday, 27 November 2023

Snake bites, while relatively rare, can be a serious medical concern. Unfortunately, misinformation and myths often surround these incidents, leading to confusion and potentially harmful practices. In this article, we'll provide accurate information and dispel common misconceptions about snakebites and first aid. Additionally, we'll highlight the differences between treating snakebites in Australia and the United States.

Understanding Snake Bites

1. Myth: All Snakes Are Venomous

Contrary to popular belief, not all snakes are venomous. In fact, the majority of snake species are non-venomous and pose little threat to humans. It's essential to avoid unnecessary panic and to focus on correctly identifying the snake if a bite occurs.

2. Myth: Venomous Snakes Always Inject Venom

Venomous snakes may choose to deliver a "dry bite" without injecting venom as a defensive warning. However, it's crucial to treat every snakebite seriously, as the presence of venom can lead to severe consequences.

First Aid for Snake Bites

1. Fact: Seek Medical Attention Immediately

Regardless of whether the snake is venomous or not, seeking prompt medical attention is crucial. Call emergency services and try to remain as calm as possible while waiting for help.

2. Fact: Keep the Wound Below Heart Level

If bitten on an extremity, keep the affected limb immobilized and positioned below heart level. This can help slow the spread of venom through the lymphatic system.

Differences in Snakebite Treatment: Australia vs. the United States

1. Australian Snake Bites

  • Key Venomous Snakes: In Australia, venomous snakes include the Eastern Brown Snake, Tiger Snake, and Taipan.
  • Pressure Immobilization Bandage: The recommended first aid method involves applying a pressure immobilization bandage to the bite site and along the limb. This helps slow the movement of venom through the lymphatic system.
  • No Tourniquets: Tourniquets are discouraged in Australia as they may worsen the effects of the venom.

2. American Snake Bites

  • Key Venomous Snakes: In the United States, venomous snakes include the Copperhead, Rattlesnake, and Coral Snake.
  • Clean Wound: Clean the bite wound gently with soap and water, but do not use a tourniquet or apply ice.
  • Immobilize and Rest: Keep the bitten limb immobilized and the victim as calm as possible while awaiting medical assistance.


Understanding the facts about snake bites is essential for both prevention and proper response. Dispelling common myths can help individuals make informed decisions in the event of a snakebite. Whether in Australia or the United States, the key is to seek medical attention promptly and follow recommended first aid procedures. By promoting accurate information, we contribute to a safer and more informed approach to dealing with these rare but potentially serious incidents.

👈 to Home