Tony Harrison - one of Australia's biggest snake catchers - is deathly allergic to the reptiles he helps remove from homes. Here’s why he does it.
Tony Harrison - one of Australia's biggest snake catchers - is deathly allergic to the reptiles he helps remove from homes. Here’s why he does it.

Meet the snake catcher who is allergic to snakes

GOLD Coast snake catcher Tony Harrison was back at work just hours after fearing he may lose his life during a job on Saturday afternoon.

Mr Harrison, who lifestreams most of his rescues on Facebook, was bitten on the thumb by an eastern brown snake during a catch attempt at a Pimpama home.

It was a terrifying moment for the seasoned snake catcher, marking 17 years since he was last bitten by a brown snake.

He also suffers from severe allergic reactions to the reptiles.

"Back then I'd gone through ten vials of antivenene, and that caused a lot of dramas because of the anaphylaxis," he said.

Not the guilty brown snake. Picture: Jerad Williams
Not the guilty brown snake. Picture: Jerad Williams

"A lot of other things have happened since then like snakes peeing in my hand, or walking into a room where a snake's been killed and ripped up, just the smell can cause a massive reaction.

"Just from that, and doctors telling me if I get bitten again it may be my last, when (this bite) happened it scared the living daylights out of me."

Mr Harrison administered first-aid to himself and asked the homeowners to call paramedics - an anxious hospital wait revealed he had suffered a "dry bite".

Tony Harrison in hospital after being bitten by a Brown Snake while on a job at Pimpama on Saturday afternoon.
Tony Harrison in hospital after being bitten by a Brown Snake while on a job at Pimpama on Saturday afternoon.

 

The snake had bitten him but not released any venom, meaning after several hours in the hospital he was given the all clear.

It wasn't enough to slow him down, as the lifestream featuring the bite hit more than 50,000 views overnight.

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"I was home at four and back out again at six," he said.

"I've got a job to do, I can't say, 'sorry you've got a snake in your home, tough titties'."

The Bulletin learned last month eastern brown snakes had been discovered more and more across most parts of the Gold Coast in recent weeks.

It was a terrifying wake up call for Mr Harrison. Picture: Jerad Williams
It was a terrifying wake up call for Mr Harrison. Picture: Jerad Williams

The brown snake was responsible for about 65 per cent of snake bite deaths in Australia between 2000 and 2016.

Mr Harrison said the scare has been an unwelcome wake-up call for him, adding he feared he might "clock out" without saying goodbye to his young son.

"Working with snakes a lot you can get complacent," he said.

"If I can't learn from it, how can other people? You have to walk into a job preparing for the worst possible scenario."

Photos of the snake were shared to Facebook. Picture: Facebook
Photos of the snake were shared to Facebook. Picture: Facebook