Five of the top 10 most venomous snakes on the planet will feature in the Reptile Awareness Display of Australia at Henty.
Reptile specialist Allan Burnett will have the top five plus a black headed and diamond python, and various lizards for the 20-minute shows held from 9am to 4pm each day.
Reptile Awareness Displays of Australia was originally formed to combat a general misunderstanding of snakes and other reptiles in the community.
“We found a need to promote public awareness of reptiles, especially snakes and related first aid treatments,” Mr Burnett said.
The business was originally established in 1999 in Tamworth, relocated to the Tweed Shire in northern NSW in 2006 and is now based in Burpengary, Queensland.
Mr Burnett said the snakes making an appearance at Henty would include the Death Adder (rated number nine most deadliest snake), Tiger snake (rated number four), coastal taipan (ranked number three), common eastern brown (number two) and the inland taipan or fierce snake (number one).
He served as ambulance officer at Albury, Deniliquin and Sydney for 20 years and treated many patients with snake bites.
He watched his first reptile handling display at the Corrumbin Wildlife Sanctuary 25 years ago and was intrigued enough to take over the business.
Mr Burnett has been bitten numerous times, including once at Howqua, near Mansfield, during a thunderstorm.
“I was racing out to the vehicle carrying the snakes secured in bags – one of the bags jumped up and a fang went through the bag into my hand,” he said.
“I had no way of knowing which snake it was – if it was a brown I had an 80 per cent chance it didn’t release any venom, an inland taipan’s fangs are 4-5mm long but I had a new mulga snake, 1.2m long with 3mm fangs and very feisty.
“The scratch on my hand wasn’t bleeding so I bandaged it, went ahead with a children’s show and then went on to the Seymour field days.”
A friend noticed his speech slurring so it was off to hospital and Allan experienced kidney pain for the next three weeks.
“I must have copped a minute amount of venom,” he said.
Mr Burnett will bring shingle back and blue tongue lizards to Henty allowing children to get up close to a reptile.
He said there were about 160 described species of land snakes in Australia.
“This is six per cent of the world’s population of snakes however 90 of the 160 species are venomous, giving Australia around 40 per cent of the world’s population of venomous snakes.
“Nowhere else on the face of this planet has this many.”