Deadly Snake Bites Golfer As He Accidentally Steps on Animal While Playing

A golfer in Australia had to be airlifted to the hospital after being bitten by the highly venomous brown snake.

The man, from Moranbah in Queensland, was playing golf when he thought that he had stepped on a stick. But upon closer inspection, he realized that he had stepped on a venomous brown snake, which was "having a second strike at the poor man's leg," according to Central Queensland (CQ) Rescue.

The CQ Rescue said in a Facebook post that the incident was not "the kind of 'hole in one' you want playing golf!"

The brown snake is highly venomous, so the man had to be airlifted to the Mackay Base Hospital. He was the second person from Moranbah to be airlifted to the hospital this month due to a snake bite, while CQ Rescue has airlifted a total of 10 people bitten by snakes to the hospital this year.

Eastern Brown Snake
A deadly Australia eastern brown snake —which has enough venom to kill 20 adults with a single bite—is photographed in the Sydney suburb of Terrey Hills on September 25, 2012. A golfer in Queensland, Australia, had to be airlifted to hospital after being bitten by a brown snake. Getty/William West

The rescue service warns that as the weather heats up during the Australian summer, the number of highly-venomous snakes on the move increases.

Eastern brown snakes thrive in areas of human disturbance, making this snake one of the most encountered species in Australia. If brown snakes are approached from a distance, they will typically flee or remain still while hoping to avoid detection, according to the Australian Museum.

However, as in the instance of the golfer, brown snakes will react defensively and will strike with little hesitation if they are surprised, as they are an alert and nervous species.

An eastern brown snake bite contains very little venom. However, this venom—which contains powerful presynaptic neurotoxins, procoagulants, cardiotoxins, and nephrotoxins—is the second most toxic venom of any land snake in the world. The venom can result in progressive paralysis and uncontrollable bleeding, and fatalities have occurred as a result.

The bite of a brown snake is usually painless and difficult to detect, so anyone who suspects they have been bitten by this species should call for medical attention immediately.

The eastern brown snake is responsible for the most fatalities as a result of a snake bite in Australia, though many bites could have been avoided as they were the consequence of people trying to kill the snake. Additionally, the number of fatalities caused by the brown snake is skewed due to their prevalence in urban areas.