Allan Burnett shows off an eastern brown snake that features in his business Reptile Awareness Displays.
Allan Burnett shows off an eastern brown snake that features in his business Reptile Awareness Displays. Blainey Woodham

Former ambo now a snake ambassador

IF YOU told Allan Burnett he would become an ambassador for slithering, cold-blooded creatures 20 years ago he would have laughed at you.

In fact growing up on Brisbane's north side his motto, like many, was the only good snake is a dead snake.

That was until he met iconic local Des Mundy, the snake man.

"I worked as a paramedic for 20 years and Des used to drop by the station," Mr Burnett said.

"He was a bottomless pit of information. He introduced me to things I was ignorant to."

The Tweed-based paramedic-turned reptile awareness ambassador has made snakes his business for the past six years; travelling around the country on a mission to educate people and bust some of the myths surrounding snakes.

"It's like the famous quote from The Elephant Man 'what you don't understand you fear'," he said.

Mr Burnett said when it came to humans, snakes were "generally defence, not attack creatures".

"Snakes don't see terribly well, they don't hear real well and they have an attention span of a minute, Max," he said.

The advice is if you see a snake to "stop dead still".

"Snakes don't bite trees or rocks," he said.

"Snakes don't chase people, except death adders - if you come close to a death adder move away very, very slowly. Otherwise wait for the snake to pass and move very slowly in the opposite direction."

When it comes to first-aid the advice is compress, immobilise and call an ambulance.

"In the 33 years since the technique was introduced there has not been one fatality when it was applied immediately and affectively," he said.

"Nobody needs to die and it's that simple."

 



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