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Peter and the Snake

Peter was a Cat belonging to the Littlehampton Vet, Dr. Catherine Motter.  Peter liked to be outside a lot of the time and Catherine felt it would be cruel to keep him in the clinic all the time, so he was allowed some freedom despite the known dangers of being outside.  Peter was the only one of the clinic’s animals allowed outside.  Peter was a friendly cat and would come to see us in our shop, next door to the clinic.  He would sometimes lie on the shop counter.  He was a good talking point for the customers.

One day I was carrying a bag of Horse food for a customer and saw Peter with what I first thought was a Mouse’s tail hanging out of his mouth.  I realised it was too long for a Mouse’s tail.  It was the tail of a Snake.  I had my hands full but I told Peter to drop the Snake.  Much to my surprise, he dropped it immediately and ran off.  I had never used that tone of voice to Peter before.

After putting the bag of food in the customer’s car I went into the vet clinic and told the nurse that Peter had dropped a snake which had gone under her car.  Sam, the vet’s son, told his mother and we all went outside. 

Peter had come back and wanted to get the snake again, so Sam picked Peter up and took him into the clinic.  The snake had been injured and had to be euthanized.  Peter had been bitten, but prompt veterinary attention saved his life.
Deadly Snakes

The snake was a young Brown Snake, Pseudonaja textilis.  This common snake is considered to be the second most venomous land snake in the world, based on LD50 values.  The bite of even newly hatched baby Brown Snakes can kill a Human or an animal.  All the snakes found in South Australia are venomous and the common ones are all potentially deadly.

The Death of Little Liberty

One of our cats, Little Liberty, was killed by a Brown Snake.  I found her dead body next to that of the snake.  Little Liberty had been bitten on the lip and probably died quickly, because the poison would have gone into her blood stream.  She also killed the Snake quickly.  It was about 3 feet long.

Snake Bite

Any Dog or Cat or other animal that has been bitten by a snake needs urgent Veterinary attention.  Any Human who is bitten needs urgent Medical attention.  Vets and Doctors can successfully treat snake bite, and although a lot of domestic animals are killed by snakes people usually get treated in time and survive.  The Human death rate from snake bite in Australia is low.

Protected Animals

Snakes, like most native Australian animals are protected by law and it is illegal to indiscriminately kill them.  In certain situations it is allowed.  However, it is dangerous to try to kill a snake, especially if you are not trained.  A Brown snake will not attack people without provocation.  If you see a Snake well away from houses, leave it alone.  If it is near your house, get a trained snake catcher in to remove it.








Brown Snake

Red Bellied Black Snake
This is another potentially deadly snake somtimes found in South Australia.
Tiger Snake