A man died in hospital less than an hour after being bitten by a suspected brown snake.
The Tamworth man, 24, died in the city’s hospital late on Wednesday night, despite the frantic efforts of emergency staff to save him.
He is believed to have been bitten by a brown snake in the backyard of a home in West Tamworth, shortly before 10pm.
It’s believed he was bitten as he tried to move the snake away from a family pet.
He was rushed to Tamworth hospital by family, but passed away within an hour of the bite.
The death of the man has shocked the local community, friends and colleagues, and came as the NSW North West sweltered through another day of temperatures above 35 degrees.
The tragedy comes as NSW Ambulance reports the number of suspected cases of snake bite in the Orana region in November and December was double the total for the same two-month period in 2016.
Local paramedics responded to eight incidents in the two-month period.
With 16 cases across the Orana region in 2017, up by five on the 2016 total, NSW Ambulance is reminding people to be mindful in the warmer weather.
The number of paramedic responses to suspected bites across the entire state also increased in 2017 to 252, compared with 204 in 2016, NSW Ambulance confirmed.
The Orana incidents were in Lightning Ridge, Curban, Weilmoringle, Menindee, Dunedoo, Carinda and Bourke. All patients, bar one, were transported to hospital.
NSW Ambulance Inspector Jamie Peetz reminded people the warmer weather would lead to an increase in snake activity. People should remove piled up debris from their yards and keep lawns mowed to reduce the potential for unwanted visitors.
In the event of a snake or spider bite, people should call Triple Zero (000) and ask for an ambulance.
WIRES volunteer Jacob McGoldrick, one of the group’s reptile handlers, said he was very saddened to hear of the young man’s death.
The Tamworth branch had had about 20 call-outs to snake sightings this warm season. He said if someone came across a snake, they should stand still until it moves away, call WIRES on 1300 094 737 and, if possible, keep an eye on it.
“Snakes aren’t out to get us, and the best thing people can do is educate themselves about snakes,” he said.
It’s believed there have been fewer than 40 deaths from snake bites in Australia since 2000.