CSL Antivenom Handbook

Australian Snakes and Snakebite

Return to Medical Treatment / Contents / Toxinology home page

General Principles

Australia's venomous snakes are all Elapid (cobra type) snakes, with small to medium sized paired fangs at the front of the mouth. The venom glands are posterior to the eye and it appears the snake can control venom ejection, so that it is possible for the snake to bite, leave bite marks or scratches, yet not inject any venom (the "dry bite").

Each group of snakes has distinctive venom, causing typical local and general effects, but there is always the potential for variability in venom action within a single species of snake, depending on geographic variation and individual variation. Some key components of Australian snake venoms are listed below. Not all species have all components (see details for each group under respective antivenoms).






Local cytotoxins

Suggested Laboratory Tests for Snakebite Patients in Major Hospitals

Suggested Laboratory Tests for Snakebite Patients in Country Hospitals

Snakebite treatment flowchart

Some problem presentations for snakebite

Go to Antivenoms pages