A Sydney teenager has survived a rare bite from the world's deadliest snake — the inland taipan — leaving experts dumbfounded, as a single drop of venom from the reptile can supposedly kill 100 men.
The 17-year-old was bitten on the hand in the Hunter Valley, in the state of New South Wales, according to News.com.au.
The snake, when taken with the boy to Kurri Kurri Hospital, was identified by wildlife volunteers as an inland taipan, native to Australia and considered the most venomous land snake in the world.
Hospital staff reported the case to police, who subsequently launched an investigation into how the teenager came into contact with the snake, which is not indigenous to the area.
The inland taipan, which reaches up to 9 feet in length, is usually found in the arid Australian outback, more than 600 miles inland, according to the Fairfax media.
There have been no reported fatalities from an inland taipan, however a spokesman for Sydney's Taronga Zoo, Mark Williams, told Fairfax that a drop of its venom was enough to kill 100 adults or 25,000 mice.
The Newcastle Herald reported that the boy was transferred to a hospital better equipped to handle the bite — the Calvary Mater Hospital in Newcastle, where he was in a serious condition.
He had reportedly received anti-venom well inside the six-hour window required, however specialists were monitoring him closely, the Herald wrote.
Dr Geoff Isbister told the paper that taipan venom — a fast-acting neurotoxin — could cause paralysis and breathing difficulties.
"It can kill someone within maybe 45 minutes. There have been reports of people experiencing effects of venom within half an hour as well," Fairfax quoted Australian Reptile Park's head keeper of reptiles and spiders, Julie Mendezona, as saying.
"It also contains an anticoagulant, which means it will interfere with the blood clotting, so therefore you can experience bleeding out as well."
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