Cyclist scoops up deadly snake with his rear wheel

Andy Barlow had a close encounter with one of the world's deadliest snakes on an ordinary ride

Brown snake
(Image credit: Getty Images)

An Australian cyclist had an unusual day out on his bike after encountering one of the world's deadliest snakes wrapped around his rear wheel and drivetrain.

Andy Barlow, from Victoria in eastern Australia, was mountain biking around the You Yangs Regional Park in January when he felt something hit him.

Not a stick, or a rock, like many of us have encountered, but a brown snake, which hit his leg before becoming wrapped around his rear wheel. The eastern brown snake, native to eastern and central Australia and southern New Guinea, is regarded as one of the deadliest snakes in the world. 

It is responsible for more snakebite deaths in Australia than any other, so it made for an eventful ride for Barlow.

The 50-year-old recounted his ordeal in an Instagram post: "Riding up lactic acid trail almost to the top, I heard something in the bushes riding past, something sth hitting my back wheel, I thought was just a branch going into the back wheel, then something hitting back of my right leg as the wheel was turning, slowly locking my back wheel. I jumped off the bike to see a brown snake wrapped in back wheel, first reaction I was bitten for sure."

Fortunately for Barlow, he was not alone on the trail, with fellow cyclists coming to his aid. However, he was certainly bitten by the snake. 

Barlow was eventually evacuated by paramedics to hospital in Geelong. His decision not to ride back to his car was the right one, as any elevation of his heart rate could have been more dangerous, was there venom in his bloodstream. Luckily, it was a "dry bite", or one without the venom.

"I ended up staying the night in hospital with many blood tests, in the end I had no venom in my bloodstream," he wrote. "Apparently 90% of snake bites were dry bites! Over my 50 years I've had many close calls with snakes, but this is the closest yet. Be prepared when out in great outdoors this time of year, I will definitely be having a snake bite kit at all times from now on! 

"BIG THANKS to the blokes for stopping and helping me, the emergency services, and Neil from Parks Victoria for looking after my precious new bike! YOU ARE ALL LEGENDS THANK YOU!"

Advice from the Victorian government says that all brown snakes are "dangerous to humans", so Barlow should count himself lucky - they are worth watching out for on the trails.

"Snakes normally avoid people, but if they feel threatened, disturbed or surprised, they are more likely to attack," the wildlife advice says. "If provoked or cornered, Brown Snakes can be extremely aggressive. All Brown Snakes should be regarded as highly venomous and dangerous to humans."

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