Canberra woman who survived brown snake bite feeling 'very lucky'

A woman who survived a bite from a venomous brown snake in Canberra has heaped praise on the paramedics and hospital staff who treated her.

Tayla Ballard, 18, was bitten on the leg about 4:00pm yesterday while feeding her horses at Kambah in Canberra's south.

Photo: Brown snake venom is highly poisonous to humans. (ABC Local: Jim Trial (file photo))

"My mare Rosie was acting a little strange … I thought maybe she had something stuck in her foot, so I went over there and knelt down to check her foot out," she said.

It was then Ms Ballard felt a sharp pain in the back of her leg.

Once Ms Ballard stood up fully, the snake slithered away.

But it took her a moment to fully process that she had been bitten.

"I just stood there for a bit … my horse stayed with me, which was lovely of her," she said.

Brown snake venom is highly poisonous to humans and bites can be fatal.

Once she had taken in her situation, Ms Ballard went straight to her car and called an ambulance.

She then bound her own leg — as instructed by emergency services staff on the phone — using a horse bandage she had in the glove box of her car.

"The lady on the phone … was really, really helpful," she said.

"She explained to me, 'keep calm, don't move as much, just focus on your breathing and relax'. Which was hard to do because he's a pretty big snake. He'd be at least six foot [1.8 metres]."

Ms Ballard said the snake had been spotted there before and was known to riders in the area as the "resident brown".

However, while she was wary of its presence, she said she had never seriously contemplated the possibility of being bitten.

'Who's going to take care of my animals?'

What followed was an anxious wait for paramedics to arrive, during which Ms Ballard said she wondered whether she would survive.

But she said her main thought was for her animals.

Photo: The place on Tayla Ballard's calf where she was bitten by a brown snake. (ABC News: Jesse Dorsett)

"I was just thinking 'please don't bite my horse'," she said.

"It sounds really silly, but I was just thinking 'who's going to take care of my animals?' They're everything to me and I was just so worried about what my family would do.

Fortunately, it was not long before paramedics arrived and she was on her way to Canberra Hospital for treatment.

Tests later revealed the bite was "dry", which meant no venom entered her system and no anti-venom was required.

She was released from the hospital about midnight.

Today Ms Ballard said her leg was "a bit achy" from the bite and she was taking it easy, but otherwise she was doing fine.

"I'm feeling very lucky, very fortunate. If it wasn't for the paramedics and the staff at the hospital I don't know what I would have done," she said.

"So yeah, a big, big thank you to them and my family as well."

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