SYDNEY (AFP) - A young girl has died in Australia after being bitten by a feared brown snake, officials said on Monday (Feb 15), a rare fatality even though the country is home to some of the planet's deadliest species.
The death of the six-year-old prompted emergency services to warn people to be on their guard against brown snakes, whose bite is often painless. They are known as nervous reptiles that strike with little hesitation.
Police in New South Wales state said the girl was bitten on Friday on a rural property near Walgett, some 660km north-west of Sydney.
She was taken to a local hospital and given anti-venom before being flown to Sydney Children's Hospital on life support. But her condition worsened, and she died on Saturday.
According to official estimates there are about 3,000 snake bite cases in Australia every year, with 300-500 needing anti-venom treatment. Only an average of two a year prove fatal.
Australia is home to 20 of the world's 25 most venomous snakes. The Eastern Brown Snake causes more deaths than any other species, according to the Australian Museum.