First Aid

Most of the creatures you will encounter in your garden are harmless and even beneficial. But some can pack quite a punch. Below is a quick guide to appropriate first aid treatment in the event that it is needed.

Snake bite:

Taipan, Oxyuranus scutellatus Highly venomous

Do Not:
  • Wash or 'suck' the wound
  • Attempt to kill or capture the snake
  • Give the victim alcohol or cigarettes

  • Apply a pressure bandage to the bite site at about the same pressure as for a sprain. Wrap the bandage from the bite all the way up and down the limb
  • Apply a splint to the effected limb
  • Keep patient still and calm
  • Record the time of the bite
  • Monitor breathing and heart rate
  • Call emergency services immediately or get to the nearest hospital/clinic

To test for safe bandage compression, squeeze the nail of the appropriate finger or toe. The flesh under the nail should go momentarily white, but quickly return to pink - this is called a 'Capillary refill'.

It's important to check, as you are NOT trying to restrict the flow of blood, but rather the action of the lymphatic system - the system that carries the venom.

Spider bites

Wolf spider Lycosidae

In the case of a funnel web spider the above snake bite treatment is recommended but it is NOT recommended if the person has been bitten by a red back spider:

Keep casualty under constant observation and apply an ice pack or a cold compress to lessen the pain. If the casualty is a young child, pregnant or has collapsed and pain is severe, seek emergency medical treatment.

Anitvenom is available.

Do NOT use the Pressure Immobilisation Technique

If you suspect a child has been bitten by a spider seek medical advice immediately.

Keep in mind that the vast majority of Australian spiders are not medically significant.


Giant Centipede Ethmostigmus rubripes

Usually bites or stings by these creatures are not life threatening however, they can be extremely painful and distressing. Using ice and light pain relieving medication is advised.

However in the case of children, people with pre-existing medical conditions or the elderly, careful observation is recommended.

Cane Toads

Cane toad Rhinella marina

Cane Toads are not 'venomous' but they are poisonous and the poison they secrete bufo toxin can be extremely debilitating and even life threatening. Usually dogs are most at risk.

The symptoms to look out for are: Excessive salivating, dizziness and lack of co-ordination, bright red gums, vomiting, increased heart rate and/or convulsions. In some cases death may result.

If you believe your dog has been poisoned run water from a hose over it's mouth and gums being careful not to let the water run down the throat (have the dogs head lowered toward the ground). Rub the gums and lips in order to clear the poison away. As soon as you are able, get the animal to a vet.

The number to dial in Australia in a medical emergency is 000