Aussie man dies from snake bite trying to protect family pet

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A man has died in New South Wales after being bitten by a suspected brown snake as he tried to protect a family pet.

TO GO WITH Australia-animal-snakes,FEATURE by Amy Coopes
This photo taken on September 25, 2012 shows a deadly Australia eastern brown snake -- which has enough venom to kill 20 adults with a single bite -- in the Sydney suburb of Terrey Hills.  According to the Australia Venom Research Unit of the University of Melbourne, the country is home to 20 of the world's 25 most venomous snakes, including the entire top 10, from which a single scratch from a venom-coated tooth can be enough to paralyse the heart, diaphragm and lungs.     AFP PHOTO / William WEST        (Photo credit should read WILLIAM WEST/AFP/Getty Images)

Australia eastern brown snake

Source: Getty

The 24-year-old was rushed to hospital but died within an hour of being bitten on the finger in a Tamworth backyard on Wednesday night.

A report will be prepared for the coroner following the man's death, a NSW Police spokeswoman told AAP on Friday.

Local media reports the man was bitten as he tried to move the snake away from a family pet.

Brown snake venom is among the most potent in the world, and the reptile is responsible for more than 60 per cent of snake-bite deaths in Australia, according to Melbourne University.

On average two to three people die from snake bites each year in Australia, Timothy Jackson from the university's Australian Venom Research Unit told AAP on Friday.

There's upwards of 100,000 snake bite deaths annually worldwide, meaning Australian fatalities are quite low given the number of venomous reptiles across the country, Dr Jackson said.

"Snakes are not looking for an excuse or an opportunity to bite humans ... we just have unfortunate accidents when people get bitten."

NSW Ambulance responded to 252 snake bites across the state in 2017 - almost 50 more than the previous year which saw 204 people bitten.

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