United Kingdom

Catcher is bitten by his pet venomous tiger snake

A snake catcher who started vomiting and convulsing within 10 minutes of being bitten on the thumb by his deadly pet tiger snake named Wesley Stripes says his wife's quick thinking saved his life.

Ben Avery was feeding the reptile - which is the third most toxic in Australia - at his home in Redlands, in Brisbane's south-east, on April 8 when the hungry reptile launched out of its enclosure and grabbed his thumb.

'He was hungry and thought I was food, so it pumped all his venom straight into my bloodstream,' the father-of-two told Daily Mail Australia.

Ben Avery (pictured) started vomiting and convulsing within 10 minutes of being bitten on the thumb by his deadly pet tiger snake

Mr Avery was feeding Wesley Stripes (pictured) at the at his home in Redlands, in Brisbane's south-east, on April 8 when the hungry reptile launched out of its enclosure and grabbed his thumb

The 38-year-old described his wife Melissa Avery, 39, as a hero who didn't panic, wrapped bandages around his entire arm within 30 seconds and called triple-0.

'If it wasn't for her, I'd be dead,' Mr Avery said. 

Within 15 minutes he was in the most excruciating pain of his life and started losing consciousness.

Mr Avery was rushed to Princess Alexandra Hospital as his kidneys shut down and 'pretty much melted' from the venom.

His platelets were so low he needed four blood transfusions over his 11-night stay in hospital, where he scored the record for the worst bite on record.

'I've known a lot of snake catchers who have been bitten and I don't know anyone who was out as fast as me,' he said.

'Doctors said that if I get bitten by one of those again, it's game over.'

The hospital's toxicology team are now using his extraordinary close call as a case study for dealing with snake bites.   

The 38-year-old described his wife Melissa Avery, 39, (pictured together with child) as a hero who didn't panic, wrapped bandages around his entire arm within 30 seconds and called triple-0

Mr Avery was rushed to Princess Alexandra Hospital after being bitten on the thumb as his kidneys shut down and 'pretty much melted' from the venom

Following the ordeal, Wesley Stripes will be rehomed where a highly-trained snake handler can take care of him. 

Despite the near fatal experience, Mr Avery insists he's still not afraid of snakes. 

'We still have about 40 snakes,' he laughed. 'Eastern browns, coastal taipans - the works, but that's just because a few have babies at the moment.'

He said the family normally have about 12 snakes they keep as pets, and sell the others.  

However, this arrangement is set to change.

'I won't be keeping venomous snakes anymore, I can't risk putting my family and friends through that again,' Mr Avery said.  

He's now set to undergo kidney dialysis for about four weeks, but is expected to make a full recovery.

'I won’t be keeping venomous snakes anymore, I can’t risk putting my family and friends through that again,' Mr Avery said

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