A cattle farmer in central Queensland has been bitten by a seven-foot brown snake while riding a motorbike, causing the man to fall from the bike and fight to pull the reptile off after it latched onto his leg.
He managed to escape from the "enormous (and) highly-venomous" snake and raise the alarm, before being airlifted to Mackay Base Hospital on Saturday.
RACQ CQ Rescue said the 34-year-old Charters Towers man was bitten while mustering cattle on a property near Clermont, 380 kilometres north-west of Rockhampton, about 8am.
He rode his motorbike over the top of the reptile, causing it to rear up and bite him on his lower right leg through his jeans.
RACQ CQ Rescue air crewman Shane Bargh said the man fell off his bike and grabbed the snake behind the back of the head to pull it off his leg.
The patient told medical staff the snake was “so big” it took his entire hand span to grabits head.
After removing the reptile, the victim was attended to by other workers before being flown to hospital from Clermont Airfield by a rescue helicopter.
The patient was "very unwell" and showing common signs of envenomation, including severe chest pain, according to Mr Bagh.
The RACQ CQ Rescue helicopter took off from Clermont just before 11am and arrived at Mackay Base Hospital an hour later, with the patient classified as being in a stable condition.
Mr Bargh said with any snake bite, stopping the spread of the venom was vital. The affected limb should be bandaged firmly, splinted if possible and immobilised.
Untreated, envenomation by a brown snake can result in paralysis, uncontrollable bleeding and possible death.
“Every snake bite should be managed as a medical emergency. Correct first aid could savea snake victim’s life,” Mr Bargh said.