A Queensland woman is lucky to be alive after she was bitten by a deadly snake while sleeping in rural Queensland.
Kasey Leadbetter went to bed after working at a rural cattle station near Glenmorgan, west of Toowoomba, not knowing an eastern brown snake had joined her underneath the covers.
She rolled over in the early hours of the morning before she was hit with a searing pain in her hand from a “very strong bite”.
“I remember jumping out of bed straight away because it gave me such a fright,” Ms Leadbetter told 9News.
“My hand just felt like it was on fire and I could feel it was starting to travel up my arm .”
At first, the 21-year-old didn’t even realise it was a snake bite, something that helped her not slip into shock.
“I was very lucky and it could have gone either way, it was really touch and go for a while there,” she said.
Eastern brown snakes are the second most venomous snake in the world, causing more deaths than any other species in Australia.
“Being an alert, nervous species they often react defensively if surprised or cornered, putting on a fierce display and striking with little hesitation,” researchers at the Australian Museum say about the snake.
“...The venom contains powerful presynaptic neurotoxins, procoagulants, cardiotoxins and nephrotoxins, and successful envenomation can result in progressive paralysis and uncontrollable bleeding.”
Panicked and not fully comprehending how her life was now at risk, Ms Leadbetter immediately called her mum for help, who contacted the family she was working with on the cattle station.
They leapt into action, wrapping her arm in a compression bandage and keeping her stable until paramedics arrived by helicopter to the property.
She was then airlifted to Toowoomba Hospital where she was treated with lifesaving anti-venom.
After the terrifying ordeal, the 21-year-old is urging schools to teach snake bite first aid in a bid to prevent deaths.
“It has saved my life and it can save other people’s lives too,” she said.
Ms Leadbetter plans on returning to work as soon as she recovers, adding that the incident has not stopped her from loving snakes.
“[Going back to work] will bring out some emotion and maybe indefinitely a bit of fear, but I’m stronger than I’m stronger than that,” she said.