HomeCamping and SurvivalTiger Snake Bites and Best Practices for Handling Them

Tiger Snake Bites and Best Practices for Handling Them

Tiger Snake Bites and Best Practices for Handling Them

Tiger Snake Bites and Best Practices for Handling Them

Camping in Australia in 2023 promises an abundance of natural beauty and unique wildlife encounters. While exploring the great outdoors is an exhilarating experience, it’s crucial to be aware of potential hazards, such as encounters with Australia’s infamous tiger snakes. In this blog, we’ll explore tiger snake bites and provide you with the best practices to handle these situations safely while keeping your camping adventure unforgettable.

Key Point 1: Understanding Tiger Snakes

Tiger snakes (Notechis scutatus) are a venomous species native to Australia. These snakes are highly adaptable and found in a wide range of habitats, including forests, wetlands, and coastal regions. Tiger snakes are known for their striking appearance, featuring a patterned body with colors that resemble those of a tiger, hence their name.

Key Point 2: Identifying a Tiger Snake Bite

Tiger snake bites can occur if you inadvertently disturb or provoke one of these snakes. It’s crucial to recognize the signs of a tiger snake bite:

  • Immediate Pain: A tiger snake bite is typically extremely painful. You’ll feel the pain immediately at the bite site.
  • Swelling and Discoloration: Swelling, redness, and bruising around the bite area are common symptoms.
  • Nausea and Weakness: You may experience symptoms such as nausea, sweating, and weakness. Severe bites can lead to paralysis and difficulty breathing.
  • Puncture Marks: Tiger snake bites often leave two puncture marks on the skin, similar to a fang mark.

Key Point 3: Best Practices for Handling Tiger Snake Bites

If you or someone in your camping group is bitten by a tiger snake, following these best practices can make a life-saving difference:

  • Stay Calm: Panic can exacerbate the situation. Encourage the victim to stay as calm and still as possible.
  • Immobilize the Affected Limb: Keep the bitten limb as still as possible. Immobilize it using a splint or bandage.
  • Remove Tight Clothing and Jewelry: Swelling can occur rapidly, so remove any tight clothing or jewelry near the bite site.
  • Do Not Cut or Suck the Wound: Contrary to popular belief, cutting the wound or attempting to suck out venom is not recommended. These actions can worsen the injury.
  • Apply a Pressure Bandage: Use a broad pressure bandage to wrap the entire limb, including the bite site. Apply firm pressure without cutting off circulation. The bandage should be tight but not too restrictive.
  • Keep the Bite Area at Heart Level: Elevating the affected limb slightly can help reduce swelling.
  • Seek Medical Help Immediately: Even if the bite appears mild, it’s crucial to seek medical attention promptly. Tiger snake venom can cause severe reactions, and medical professionals are best equipped to administer the appropriate treatment, such as antivenom.

Key Point 4: Carrying a Snakebite First Aid Kit

When camping in Australia, it’s wise to be prepared for snake encounters. Consider carrying a snakebite first aid kit, which should include:

  • Pressure Bandages: These are crucial for immobilizing the affected limb.
  • Crepe or Elastic Bandages: Useful for securing the pressure bandage.
  • Splints: Lightweight splints can help immobilize the limb.
  • Antiseptic Wipes and Dressings: These are essential for wound care.
  • Snakebite Action Plan: Include instructions for administering first aid and seeking medical help.

Key Point 5: Prevention is the Best Cure

While knowing how to handle tiger snake bites is crucial, prevention is the most effective strategy. Here are some tips to reduce your risk of encountering snakes while camping in Australia:

  • Stay on Designated Trails: Stick to marked trails and paths to minimize the risk of stumbling upon a snake.
  • Wear Protective Clothing: Long pants, high boots, and gaiters can provide an extra layer of protection.
  • Avoid High-Risk Areas: Be cautious around water sources, tall grass, and rocky outcrops where snakes may hide.
  • Use a Torch at Night: When moving around your campsite at night, use a flashlight to illuminate your path and any potential snake-hiding spots.
  • Be Alert: Pay attention to your surroundings and listen for hissing sounds, a common warning sign from snakes.


Camping in Australia in 2023 offers unparalleled natural beauty and outdoor adventures. However, it’s essential to be aware of potential hazards, such as tiger snakes, and know how to handle a snake bite emergency. By understanding the risks, staying prepared with a snakebite first aid kit, and following best practices for prevention, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable camping experience while exploring the stunning landscapes of Australia’s great outdoors.

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