June 13, 2009

Janitor bitten by snake in dumpster

A janitor at a department store in downtown Melbourne survived a bite by a deadly snake lurking in a dumpster, medical workers say.

Paul Bentley, a spokesman for Ambulance-Victoria, said the 29-year-old told emergency workers he was throwing out trash in an alley behind the Myer store when he felt a bite on his finger, The Age reported. He pulled his hand out and saw an 8-inch snake with its fangs in his finger.

Workers at St. Vincent's Hospital said they found venom from a brown snake on the worker's hand. However, they said the venom apparently did not get into his blood stream.

Brown snakes are among the most deadly in Australia and one of the most commonly involved in deaths from bites.

Tom Vida, a snake catcher, was brought in and failed to find the snake, He suggested the man might have been bitten by something else, possibly a rat.

If it was here, I would have found it, he said.

But he then said the snake might have escaped down a hole, making it impossible to find.