A 15-YEAR-OLD boy and his 21-year-old brother are lucky to be alive after mistaking an Eastern Brown snake for one of their pet pythons.
Codee Brosing, 15 and Chris Adams, 21, were both bitten last Monday afternoon after discovering the snake inside a bedroom at their home.
After a stint in Ipswich Hospital, both are back home recovering. They and the snake catchers who helped them are now taking their story public to educate people on the dangers of misidentifying our slithery friends.
N&S Snake Catchers owner Norman Hill said Codee, assuming the snake was a children's python, dived on it in an attempt to catch it.
The teen was bitten twice and injected with venom. Norman said Chris was also bitten twice after he tried to catch the snake, but venom was not released in either bite.
Norman said Codee and Chris were not taken to hospital until after they had caught the snake - and they took the snake to the hospital with them.
Norman and wife Sally were called to Ipswich Hospital to collect the snake, and helped clear up the case of mistaken identity.
"I ended up identifying the snake for them," Norman said.
"Not one of them knew how deadly Eastern Browns were."
While Chris got away from the incident with some bruising, Codee had to receive antivenin and stayed two nights in Ipswich Hospital.
Codee is one of 41 people admitted to the hospital from January 1 to March 16 this year because of a snake bite.
"Without treatment, within half an hour-45 minutes, he would have been cactus," Norman said.
"Eventually, it shuts your whole body down."
Norman's wife Sally urged people who find a wild or unfamiliar snake in their home to respect it, even if they do have pet snakes. She said it was illegal to catch or kill a snake.
She became a snake catcher after meeting Norman and said the animals should be treated as a normal part of life in Queensland.
"I was one of those people with that fear (of snakes)," she said.
"Now I think those poor snakes, they were here first. They're part of our ecosystem."
Both Sally and Norman also urged people who see a snake in their home or yard to call a professional snake catcher, despite the cost.
"It's like having an electrician or a plumber," Norman said.
"The people who try to catch or kill a snake are the ones who end up in hospital."