Deadly snake bites Aussie teen, police investigates
File photo: Snake handlers in Australia are mistakenly skipping trips to the emergency room after being bitten. Wikimedia/XLerate

Believe it or not, some people in Australia have made a career out of catching snakes.

Sure Steve Irwin hunted crocodiles, but there is something particularly offputting about having to deal with slithering snakes on a daily basis. Alas, since everything in Australia wants to kill you, snake handler is a necessary profession.

Unfortunately, workers who have been in the job for decades are starting to partake in an extremely risky practice. "Dry bite" is a term used when a snake bites a human but does not inject any venom. And apparently more and more snake handlers are banking that the bites they receive are "dry", so avoiding a trip to the emergency room for the anti-venom serum.

Take William Pledger who was recently called out to catch a snake in a small Queensland town. He was able to remove an eastern brown snake - which has one of the most toxic venoms in the world - successfully but was bitten.

"I didn't feel the bite at all," Pledger told local paper the Gympie Times. He decided against going for emergency treatment under the assumption that no venom had been injected.

Within eight hours, his kidneys had started to shut down and he was in a hospital bed. His blood tests revealed a mixture of neurotoxins, myotoxins and coagulants. If he had not received the anti-venom he would have died.

"They were looking at putting me on dialysis to save my life," Pledger said. "[If not for the treatment] you would have been going to my funeral today."

Melbourne snake catcher Raymond Hoser told that "dry bites" were as "rare as rockinghorse s**t".

"Dry bites aren't common," Hoser said. "I want to know who came up with the bulls**t over dry bites. Dozens of snake handlers have died thinking they were dry bites.

"These people getting bitten think there's no pain but they just collapse and die. Queensland is the worst. There's handlers teaching other handlers who have no expertise whatsoever and they go out and catch snakes with metal tongs. It's not good."