A man was hospitalised after being bitten by a venomous snake on Monday night in Gidgegannup.

A dugite snake. Image: Danny Melville.

Paul Finn told ECU Vanguard News he was walking his dog on his bush property when he was bitten on the sole of his foot.

“I thought maybe a scorpion, …or a nail or something, it was that painful,” Mr Finn said.

Mr Finn spent a day and a half in the ICU at St John of God Hospital in Midland, after his GP’s quick diagnosis.

Doctors said the snake venom was most likely from a dugite, or Western brown snake, which are common in the South-West of WA and are potentially lethal.

Finn was told he was the first person to be given the anti-venom at the hospital, which he received seven hours after he had been bitten.

“The doctors were fascinated that I was still standing, let alone not dead,” he said.

Mr Finn said he has a history of surviving other poisonous bites, including from redback spiders, but the dugite was the most painful.

“It was more pain than I’d ever experienced in one go.”

Mr Finn says the pain began in his foot and then immediately travelled to his hands, as well as causing an intense headache.

Dugite venom is potentially lethal. Image: Adobe License.

“I started feeling sick. By the time I went in to wake my wife up, I started feeling icy, and then like my hands were on fire. Then I was so itchy,” he said.

Mr Finn was barefoot at the time he was bitten but said the incident did not inspire him to wear shoes on his property unless he is doing farm work.

“I’ve always got bare feet. If I’m just going out to let the chooks out or water the sheep, I’m barefoot, I don’t worry about it.”

Instead, Mr Finn and his wife are planning a feathery defence against the reptiles.

“We’re going to probably get a few geese. Geese are pretty good at keeping them away,” he said.

The incident is as a reminder that dugites are out and about in Perth this summer.

A 3-year-old girl was also bitten by a dugite in Mandurah last month, and another dugite was spotted swimming along the shore at Quinns Dog Beach earlier this week.

Perth Hills snake catcher Adam Firstenburg said dugites will continue to slither around WA’s rural areas until they hide away again in the winter months.

Brianna Melville

Brianna studies broadcasting, politics and international relations at ECU, and is passionate about topics including modern slavery, the climate crisis and equality. She is working towards a journalism career in all forms of media. She has done some recent volunteer work for Noongar Radio and has worked on promotional videos for Unisport Australia. When she isn’t writing, you’ll find Bri on a netball court or at a recycled fashion market.

1 Comment

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    Well done Brianna … a very good article. Keep up the good work.

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