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Snake Bites & Pets


Thankfully, with an increase in media attention, pet owners are more aware now than they ever were when it comes to keeping their pets safe from snake bites.


As the weather warms up and daylight savings kicks in, we start to become more active, and so do the snakes. Whilst the risk of humans getting bitten by a snake is very low (unless you’re being silly!), our pets, unfortunately, aren’t so lucky.


If you are fortunate enough to see a wildlife show about venoms animals (The Raptor Domain on KI is amazing!) you will quickly learn that snakes will leave you alone if you leave them alone. They aren’t likely to bite unless they feel threatened or have no other choice. Which is why, with a natural curiosity and instinct to chase, hunt and stalk, it makes our pets susceptible to snake bites.


In South Australia, the eastern brown snake is responsible for most of the snake bites we see in domestic pets. Overgrown backyards, local parks, lakes, and beaches are common places snake bites occur. However, even cats that are confined indoors, with outdoor runs, have succumbed to snake bites in the past.


What should you know about snake bites?

The signs of a snake bite are varied. They may show some or all of the following signs:

  • Sudden weakness followed by collapse
  • Shaking or twitching of the muscles
  • Vomiting
  • Dilated pupils not responsive to light
  • Blood in the urine
  • In the later stages, paralysis may occur


Tips for keeping your pets safe:

  • Walk dogs on a lead, especially during September - April and avoid long grassy areas
  • Choose off-leash areas that are busy and well-maintained
  • Mow your lawns regularly and weed and prune your gardens
  • Remove all rubbish from your property, and pick up toys, tools, boots, and anything that can be a potential snake hiding spot
  • Keep rats and mice under control
  • Keep cats inside
  • Be vigilant - always know where your pet is and what they are doing

First Aid:

  • The BEST first aid there is - is getting your pet to a vet immediately - The sooner your pet received antivenom the greater their chances of survival. 
  • If practical, immobilise your pet and keep them as calm and quiet as possible
  • Apply a pressure bandage over and around the bite site to help slow the venom
  • DO NOT wash the wound or apply a tourniquet
  • NEVER put yourself or others at risk by attempting to identify the snake. Please don’t attempt to catch it, or bring it into the vet with you - even dead snakes have the potential to bite!

Approximately 80% of pets survive if treated quickly. The survival rate of pets left untreated is much, much lower.


If you see a snake do not try to catch or harm it. All Australian snakes are protected and you will expose yourself to unnecessary danger. Call a professional snake catcher.


Snake Bites & Pets

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O’Halloran Hill Vet Centre

123 Main South Road
O’Halloran Hill, SA 5158

Hilton Vet Centre

142 Sir Donald Bradman Drive
Hilton, SA 5033