It’s only March, but a dad in Australia is likely to win the father-of-the-year award for 2023. Jake Coombe was returning home from an outing earlier this month with his daughter when they had a dangerous encounter with one of the country’s deadliest snakes. While unpacking bags in his garage, Coombe noticed his two-year-old, Alba, walking towards something on the floor near the doorway. He immediately recognized the object as an eastern brown snake, coiled and ready to strike. 

Brown snakes are extremely deadly and have enough venom to kill a child in minutes. Worse yet, this one was moments from doing just that. Seeing his daughter in grave danger, Coombe bolted towards her and pulled her away, putting himself between her and the snake as it lunged forward. The brown snake struck Coombe on the foot and bit down hard. 

Lucky for Coombe, the snake gave him what’s called a “dry bite”—meaning there was no venom. Still, he needed to spend the night in the hospital, but Alba was fine. “Maybe it would have been a different story if Alba got to it—she could have picked it up and wouldn’t have got away so quickly,” He told The Messenger. “Better me than her, that’s for sure.”

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According to the Billabong Sanctuary, venom from an eastern brown snake is the second most deadly in the world, behind the Inland Taipan. It contains a neurotoxin that will paralyze the nerves of the heart, lungs, and diaphragm. 

Brown snakes are known to bite repeatedly when provoked, but when defending themselves, they usually give dry bites. Most snake bite deaths in Australia are caused by eastern brown snakes, but the country usually only averages around five snake-bite fatalities per year.