Baby Lorenzo bit the young pit viper close to its head, immobilising it Reuters

A 17-month old boy in Brazil struck back at a venomous snake by biting and killing the deadly reptile. Young Lorenzo's mother, Jaine Ferreira Figueira, found the infant with blood on his hands and "with the snake in his mouth".

The incident happened in the town of Mostardas in Rio Grande do Sul state, on 1 November and the 19-year old mother's suspicions first arose after her son went quiet when playing in the garden with the family dog.

She initially thought that the dog had killed the snake, which has been identified as a jararaca, or pit viper, when she rushed outside, "but he was already in the room, and with the snake in his mouth," Figueira told Brazilian media outlet G1.

The child was taken to a local hospital, along with the snake in a jar so that he could receive the proper antivenom, where the doctor informed the parents that it was probably Lorenzo who had killed the snake. "He bit the young jararaca close to its head, which immobilized it and prevented it from biting him," the doctor added. "The boy was very shaken up — I think it was a self-defence instinct that kicked in, or he thought it was a toy."

According to Snake Bite Initiative, snakes bite humans around 80,000 times a year in the Americas, with most of these occurring in Latin America. It is thought that there are between 540 and 2,298 deaths a year from snake bites in Latin America.