Snake handler at heightened risk

SNAKE handler Scott Grant was back home in Terang yesterday determined to continue his career, despite being told his repeated bites from snakes might heighten their impact.

Mr Grant was bitten on Monday by an inland taipan, the world’s most venomous snake, during a demonstration at a building union’s Christmas picnic in Portland.

It was the third time Mr Grant had been bitten in the past five years.

A bite from a tiger snake more than four years ago at Timboon put him in intensive care for about a week,  while he had no reaction to another bite from a northern death adder.

Mr Grant said he had been told only a tiny amount of venom from the inland taipan had entered his body on Monday and the adverse reaction he felt shortly after was an allergic one.

“It came out of the bag and saw my hand and got a shock and bit it. I got bitten on the left-hand thumb.”

Dr Ken Winkel, from the Australian Venom Research Unit at Melbourne University, warned Mr Grant might suffer serious complications in future because of an allergic reaction.

He now carries EpiPens to inject adrenalin for any future allergic reactions.

Mr Grant said his reaction to Monday’s snake bite was being studied by the venom research unit to explore whether tiger snake venom could heighten the effect of venom from other snakes.

He thanked medical personnel who acted quickly to help him.

Despite his added health risks, Mr Grant said he was determined to continue his West Vic Reptiles snake handling business because he believed snakes deserved respect.

“I am educating people to respect these animals,” he said.

Apart from doing displays of snakes and other reptiles, Mr Grant also relocates snakes to safer locations.

He said all snakes would bite but only did so when they were put in a situation where they had no choice.

He believed the inland taipan bit him after it got tangled in a loose thread of a bag he was putting it into.

“It came out of the bag and saw my hand and got a shock and bit it. I got bitten on the left-hand thumb.”

Mr Grant said he would take his time recovering but would be back in full swing by the end of next week.

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