A man who found a snake while out hiking took it home to show his children, only to be rushed to hospital after being bitten.
The father from New South Wales, Australia, believed the creature was a non-venomous diamond python when he picked it up, and was promptly bitten by the reptile.
He took the snake back home anyway, assuming the bite had been harmless.
But he realised all was not well when he began vomiting violently and his hand became badly swollen, triggering an emergency visit to hospital.
Image: The hiker’s swollen hand after being bitten by the broad-headed snake
A nurse at Bowral Hospital contacted snake expert Ray McGibbon, who was sent a photo of the animal.
He immediately identified it as a broad-headed snake – which inject neurotoxins into the bloodstream when they bite, which can lead to incapacitation and, in some cases, death.
“The hiker was extremely lucky to make it out after being bitten and envenomated [with] no first aid,” he said.
“It could have ended up a lot worse than it did.
“All species of broad-headed snakes have bites that could potentially cause fatalities.”
Mr McGibbon said the man was kept in hospital for six hours before being sent home to recover.
The expert, who runs the South Highlands Snake Catchers service, said he collected the reptile before returning it to its habitat a few days later.
He said the hiker “was happy for me to share this story for educational purposes and hopefully people will take note and not follow the same mistakes he did”.
“So please, if you see a snake or any reptile in the wild, admire it in its own habitat. Take photos or a video and please DO NOT try and capture it or take it home,” he said on his Facebook page.
“This is a learning curve for all.”
Mr McGibbon told Sky News the broad-headed snake was now an endangered species due to the destruction of its natural habitat, which is believed to be caused by urbanisation, illegal removal of rocks and vandalism.