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Australian man dies after being bitten by highly venomous snake while trying to remove it from child care center

Woman finds snake hiding in cabinet
Australian woman finds snake hiding in cabinet 01:06

An Australian man has died after being bitten by a highly venomous snake while trying to remove the serpent from a childcare center in an effort "to keep the children safe," local media and emergency services said Wednesday.

Paramedics in the northeastern state of Queensland were called out Tuesday afternoon and found the man in critical condition.

The man was believed to have been bitten by a brown snake, one of the most lethal species in the world. The Australian Broadcasting Corporation identified the victim as 47-year-old Jerromy Brookes.

He was transported to Townsville hospital and later died, a spokesperson for Queensland Ambulance Service told AFP.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported that Brookes, who did not have a permit to handle or remove snakes, was trying to remove the serpent from a child care center where his wife and their two daughters worked in early childhood education.

"He was doing his very best to keep the children safe," his family's employer, Michelle O'Connor, told ABC.

Deaths due to snake bites are rare in Australia, with only a handful of fatal attacks recorded each year.

About 200 people are hospitalized each year due to contact with brown snakes, according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

"We have very good quality antivenom in Australia," Christina Zdenek of the Australian Reptile Academy told AFP.

Snakes are most active from September through to January, as the cold-blooded reptiles warm up in the austral summer.

Zdenek said the best way to treat a snake bite is by "staying still, calm and wrapping the whole limb tightly with a stretchy bandage".

"Don't ever try to kill a snake," she added.

Eastern brown snakes are found throughout eastern Australia and in isolated populations in central and western parts of the country, as well as in southern and eastern New Guinea. They are "fast-moving, aggressive and known for their bad temper," according to Australian Geographic, which ranks it as the most dangerous snake in the country.

This photo taken on September 25, 2012 shows a deadly Australia eastern brown snake -- which has enough venom to kill 20 adults with a single bite -- in the Sydney suburb of Terrey Hills.  WILLIAM WEST/AFP via Getty Images

They are medium-sized, slender snakes that are notably resilient, extremely toxic and comfortable living among humans in both rural and dense urban areas.

Earlier this year, an eastern brown snake was found curled up in the underwear drawer of a 3-year-old boy in Australia. The serpent was safely removed by a professionals snake wrangler.

In 2022, an Australian woman found a brown snake hiding in her antique radiogram cabinet.

Emily Mae Czachor contributed to this report.

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