Harmless, it wasn't: Jogger dies from snake bite in Australia

SYDNEY (AFP) - A hockey player has died in Australia after being bitten by a snake that he picked up - a rare fatality despite the country being home to the planet's 10 deadliest species.

Mr Karl Berry, 26, reportedly grabbed the deadly brown snake near a training field in the Northern Territory on Tuesday, believing it was a harmless python, and threw it into some bushes to keep it away from children playing nearby.

He then went for a run, not realising it had bitten him on the finger, before collapsing, the Northern Territory News said Friday.

St John ambulance spokesman Craig Garraway said Mr Berry was conscious when emergency workers arrived.

"We found a male who had just been on a two-kilometre run, feeling quite unwell," he said.

"After some discussion and investigation we became aware he had picked up a snake off the hockey field and it had actually bitten him on the finger."

Mr Berry later died in hospital.

According to official estimates there are about 3,000 snake bite cases in Australia every year, with 300-500 requiring 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, including the entire top 10.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.