‘My leg was ballooning’: Warning as venomous snake attacks holidaymaker at UK tourist hotspot
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A holidaymaker has spent three days in hospital after being bitten by a venomous snake in Cornwall. Chris Laing, 37, lives in Melbourne where he has avoided Oz’s various dangerous animals even when hiking in the bush.
But during a trip to the UK he had to be rushed for emergency treatment after he was bitten by an adder. Brit Chris was raised in St Just, Cornwall and moved Down Under in 2010.
During a return to his Cornish family he was ironically bitten by a venomous snake near their home on August 17. Chris, who has avoided being bitten by a snake for 13 years in Australia, says the ordeal’s "irony has not been lost" on him.
He said: "I don’t think I stepped on it. I’ve done a fair bit of bush walking out in Australia so my eyes are pretty well trained to look at the path ahead.
"I had a sensation coming from the right hand side. I thought it was a wasp or a bee. I couldn’t believe it when I saw the snake."
Chris had been walking along the coastal path between Lands End and St Just with his friend from Australia who had come to visit when he was bitten. He had been for a swim near Porth Nanven and was continuing on their walk when things took an unexpected turn.
The Smart Cities program manager felt a sharp sting in his right ankle. When he looked down he was shocked to see an adder snake latched on to him. Chris eventually managed to kick the snake off of himself, but noticed the snake tried to lunge a second for him.
He said: "It was bizarre behaviour from the snake. Usually they nip and retreat so I think it must have been protecting a nest. I was wearing running socks with a lot of elastic in them so I also think it might have been stuck in there.
"That means I might have gotten a few doses of the venom in me."
He added: "When you get bitten by a snake the advice is to stay calm, immobilise where you were bitten and to not move so the venom doesn’t pump around your body. I had to walk to the road though so that probably didn’t help."
After snapping a photo of the serpent, his friend helped Chris up to the nearest road where they thankfully met a man with a car who drove him back to St Just. Chris’ leg soon began to tingle and go numb, so after calling 111 he was driven an hour away to the Royal Cornwall Hospital by his girlfriend.
While walking to the A&E entrance, Chris collapsed. He remained in hospital until Sunday (August 20) after two separate doses of anti-venom and being monitored for several days.
He said: "My leg was ballooning. The swelling was huge and the anti-venom made me feel sick.
"The staff at the Royal Cornwall Hospital were fantastic and really looked after me. I couldn’t believe I had been bitten by a venomous snake here of all places.
"When I told my family my Australian uncle replied straight away - he thought I was joking.
"Most people don’t even think we have venomous snakes outside of Oz so it was funny. The irony wasn’t lost on any of us."