Pet Keen is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

Home > Statistics > 16 Australian Snakebite Statistics to Know in 2024: Rates, Deaths & FAQ

16 Australian Snakebite Statistics to Know in 2024: Rates, Deaths & FAQ

Snake Bite Statistics Australia

Note: This article’s statistics come from third-party sources and do not represent the opinions of this website.

You’re probably more likely to hear about rattlesnake bite statistics in the United States than other venomous species. Australia is a different story regarding snakebite deaths and the species causing the problems. Outdoor workers, such as landscape and zoo industry workers, reported half of all snakebites in this country.

The United States shares that with Australia, where people in the agricultural industry are at the greatest risk of a dangerous encounter. The takeaway message is the same. Don’t approach a snake in the wild, particularly if it’s acting aggressively or you’re uncertain about the species.

Our figures represent the latest available aggregated data. Unfortunately, snakebites are often not reported for various reasons, particularly in developing countries. The reality is that our snake deaths per year worldwide are probably more conservative than the numbers show.

divider-snake

The 16 Australian Snakebite Statistics

  1. About 3,000 snakebites occur each year in Australia.
  2. Up to 13% of human snakebite cases require antivenom treatment.
  3. Australia averages about 2 snakebite fatalities a year.
  4. Australia’s veterinary snakebite registry, SnakeMap, reported 624 cases among pets, with 419 dogs and 205 cats.
  5. Snake-pet incidences happened 85% of the time on the owner’s property with dogs and only 26% with cats.
  6. About 88% of the stricken pets survived being bit by venomous snakes.
  7. The Staffordshire Bull Terrier accounted for about 25% of dogs bitten by snakes.
  8. Cats have the edge when it comes to venomous snakebites, surviving 66% of the time versus 31% with dogs.
  9. Australia is home to 140 species of terrestrial snakes.
  10. About 20 species of Australia’s snake species are venomous.
  11. The Eastern Brown Snake causes about 60% of snakebite deaths.
  12. The Inland Taipan has the deadliest venom, with an LD50 of only 0.025 mg per kg.
  13. Only 58% of Western Australians surveyed could correctly ID venomous snakes.
  14. Only two people died from snakebites in 2019 in Australia, but 63,000 people died worldwide.
  15. The number of yearly fatalities in the 21st century in Australia hasn’t fluctuated much.
  16. The ancestors of some venomous snakes in Australia arrived by sea.
Australia_Snakebite_Statistics
You’re welcome to use our images, but we require you to link directly to this site for credit (ex. Graphic from Pet Keen)

new snake divider

The Victims

1. About 3,000 snakebites occur each year in Australia.

(ABC NEWS AU)

According to ABC News Australia, about 3,000 snakebites occur each year in people. Some other parts of the world exceed this figure, with 100,000 incidents occurring in Asia and Europe. India tops the list of countries, with an estimated 46,900 deaths every year. However, this is still a striking statistic.

First Aid Training - Snake Bite
Image Credit: Microgen, Shutterstock

2. Up to 13% of human snakebite cases require antivenom treatment.

(PLOS Medicine)

About 200 of the 1,500 snakebites in Australia require medical intervention with antivenom therapy. The country shares obstacles that other nations face, such as India. The lack of a more aggressive campaign to help these victims prompted the World Health Organization (WHO) to reclassify snakebites as a Category “A” Neglected Tropical Disease (NTD).


3. Australia averages about 2 snakebite fatalities a year.

(The New Daily)

Luckily, the snakebite statistics by state, including deaths, are low at only 2 per year. Fatalities are preventable with the availability of antivenom therapy and increased awareness about the risks involved with these reptiles. The number of snakebite deaths in the United States reflects a similar pattern.


4. Australia’s veterinary snakebite registry, SnakeMap, reported 624 cases among pets, with 419 dogs and 205 cats.

(VIN News)

SnakeMap was the brainchild of Dr. Manuel Boller, who saw a lack of data about snakebites when he first came to Australia in 2012. Boller released his first round of statistics in 2020, which showed that 419 dogs and 205 cats were victims of snake bites. The same shortcoming also exists with these figures since owners underreport their pets’ injuries.

dog and snake
Image Credit: Tharaka Wickramarathna, Shutterstock

5. Snake-pet incidences happened 85% of the time on the owner’s property with dogs and only 26% with cats.

(Australian Veterinary Journal)

After using SnakeMap data for 4 years, the researchers revealed some interesting findings. Cats are less likely to be bitten by snakes in their owners’ yards, but dogs get bitten in their yards often. Thankfully, most of the animals bitten survived the attacks.


6. About 88% of the stricken pets survived being bit by venomous snakes.

(VIN News)

Miraculously, 88% of pets survived their ordeal. That’s particularly interesting, given that cats share 90% of their DNA with humans and dogs share 84%. That may also explain the high survival rate for people. It’s surprising since some of the outcomes of a venomous snakebite include renal failure, convulsions, and hypotension or low blood pressure.


7. The Staffordshire Bull Terrier accounted for about 25% of dogs bitten by snakes.

(Phys.org)

In 2017, SnakeMap identified 40 dog breeds that had been envenomed or bitten by snakes. However, topping the list by far is the Staffordshire Bull Terrier. They’re unlikely to back down when they encounter a snake.


8. Cats have the edge when it comes to venomous snakebites, surviving 66% of the time versus 31% with dogs.

(Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology)

One of the unfortunate consequences of a venomous snakebite is uncontrollable bleeding or venom-induced consumptive coagulopathy. Two contrasting factors explain the difference in cat and dog deaths. Felines respond better to treatment, while canines are more susceptible to the effects of the venom.

new snake divider

The Snakes

9. Australia is home to 140 species of terrestrial snakes.

(NSW)

Australia is home to 140 terrestrial snakes. We make the distinction since there are also sea snakes in northern Australia. Snakebites are more common with terrestrial species than sea snakes. That makes sense since people and pets are more likely to encounter one on land.

eastern brown snake
Image By: Ken Griffiths, Shutterstock

10. About 100 species of Australia’s snake species are venomous.

(NSW)

Knowing that 100 Australian snake species are venomous seems scary, but you should also know that only about 12 species produce deadly venom.


11. The Eastern Brown Snake causes about 60% of snakebite deaths.

(9News)

The Eastern Brown Snake is responsible for more snakebite deaths than other species, even though it doesn’t produce the deadliest venom. A possible reason is the animal’s appearance. It doesn’t have the traits that we associate with a dangerous reptile.

It’s drab-colored, yet it doesn’t have a rattler or unique behavioral characteristics to set it apart. Someone looking at it may think that it’s harmless.


12. The Inland Taipan has the deadliest venom, with an LD50 of only 0.025 mg per kg.

(Australia Zoo/ATSDR)

The LD50 of a substance describes the amount that would kill 50% of mice. The Inland Taipan has the deadliest venom of any snake, and a single bite contains enough venom to kill 100 adults.

According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) for comparison, the LD50 of cyanide is 1.52 mg per kg for humans.

inland taipan snake
Image By: Karsten Paulick, Pixabay

new snake divider

 

The Future

13. Only 58% of Western Australians surveyed could correctly ID venomous snakes.

(Curtin University)

A Curtin University-led study revealed some disturbing statistics, including the fact that only 58% of Western Australians could identify three common species. It also showed that adults were better at identifying venomous snakes than children.


14. Only two people died from snakebites in 2019 in Australia, but over 63,000 people died worldwide.

(James Cook University)

Although 63,000 people a year die from snakebites, Australia only recorded two casualties. India recorded over 51,000 deaths in the same year.


15. The number of yearly fatalities in the 21st century in Australia hasn’t fluctuated much.

(National Library of Medicine)

Between 2000 and 2016, only 35 deaths by snakebite were recorded in Australia, which equals around 2.2 per year. Until 2017, a large study examining snakebite deaths had not been performed in over 20 years. The study concluded that most snakebite fatalities occurred in rural areas.


16. The ancestors of some venomous snakes in Australia arrived by sea.

(Science Daily)

When researchers from the University of Adelaide analyzed the genomes of Tiger snakes and Brown snakes in 2022, they discovered that some genes were transferred by marine species. Previously, most researchers believed the snakes evolved from other terrestrial species.

new snake divider

Frequently Asked Questions About Australian Snakebites

Why are snakebites so common?

As we’ve discussed earlier, many venomous snakes have traits that don’t scream that they’re dangerous. They also have varying descriptions of how aggressive they are. It’s worth mentioning that Australia has a warm climate that can play a role in keeping a cold-blooded animal like a snake active.

What makes it so difficult to treat snakebites?

The remoteness of some of the places where snakebites occur poses several challenges. It’s difficult to get an envenomed person to a doctor or hospital for treatment. Time is of the essence when dealing with the severity of the consequences. There is also the cost. Treating a pet can cost thousands of dollars, let alone a person.

(AVRU)

What should I do if I see a snake?

Snakes don’t want to fight any more than you do. Animals try to avoid conflict at all costs. It uses precious energy, which a reptile would try to avoid. Take a clue from these facts. Stay clear of a snake. We also suggest wearing boots when traveling in snake country to put another barrier between you and a dangerous animal.

venomous timber rattlesnake coiled to strike
Image By: Mark_Kostich, Shutterstock

Are venomous snakes more aggressive?

The temperament of snakes varies with the species. Some, such as water snakes, are extremely cantankerous and will bite with little provocation.

What is needed to get the snakebite issue under control?

Educating the public about venomous snakes and providing more resources to help them identify the numerous species may reduce the number of snakebites. It’s also a matter of instilling respect for all wildlife and being cautious in areas where venomous species are prevalent.

(AVRU)

Divider-snake

Conclusion

The alleged incidence of snakebites gets a lot of press in Australia. Although some venomous snakes are deadly, they don’t kill many people in the Land Down Under. Nevertheless, the stats tell a story that is worth listening to and taking the necessary action to avoid an encounter. These animals are dangerous and deserve a wide berth if you come across one in the wild.


Featured Image Credit: marketlan, Shutterstock

Contents

Our vets

Want to talk to a vet online?

Whether you have concerns about your dog, cat, or other pet, trained vets have the answers!

Our vets