An Australian teenager had a lucky escape after being bitten by the world's most venomous snake.The 17-year-old walked into a hospital in the small town of Kurri Kurri, north of Sydney, on Wednesday afternoon with a bite to his left hand.
According to reports, his friend was carrying a plastic tub containing the snake responsible, which was later identified as the toxic inland taipan.
Also known as the fierce snake due to the strength of its venom - one drop of which is enough to kill 100 adult men - the inland taipan typically lives in central Australia's arid deserts and is not normally seen on the coast.
Detectives are investigating how he came into contact with the desert reptile amid speculation it could have been an illegal pet.
"The youth ... is reported to be in a stable condition," police said in a statement.
"Police are now attempting to establish how the youth came to be bitten, and hope to speak to the young man once he is considered well enough."
According to doctors, the boy's rapid treatment with anti-venom had been crucial to his survival, as inland taipan venom can kill someone in as little as 45 minutes.
"We had antivenom in stock, we keep what's called polyvalent antivenom and that covers all of our snakes," said toxicologist Geoff Isbister, who is treating the teen at the Mater hospital in the city of Newcastle.
"We had access to it immediately, and he was treated very early."
The snake's poison is neurotoxic and can cause gradual paralysis and compromise breathing if not treated.
Myotoxins in the bite also dissolve muscle and other tissues, meaning the wound site can cause significant kidney damage.
Inland taipans can grow up to 2.5m (8ft) in length and have 12mm fangs.