Dog walker bitten by snake in Bolton woodland

8:15am Thursday 3rd July 2008

By Jane Lavender

A VENOMOUS snake left a dog walker in agony after biting him as he bent down to pick up a stick.

Michael Lynn was in woodland near to his home in The Haulgh when the reptile - last night identified by experts as an adder - struck.

He required anti-venom treatment at hospital and a blood sample has been sent to the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine for confirmation of the type of snake which bit him.

Mr Lynn is the second dog walker to fall victim to a suspected adder attack in the last two months.

In May, Derek Walsh, aged 62, was bitten while walking his dog at Barrow Bridge.

Mr Lynn, of Strawberry Hill, The Haulgh, said: "It felt like an electric shock and my arm swelled up immediately."

He had taken his two dogs, Tig and Toby, for a walk in woodland close to St Peter's Way.

Remarkably, Mr Lynn, a CCTV camera installer, still went to work after being bitten.

But by lunchtime his arm had ballooned to such an extent that he was unable to carry on and he went to the accident and emergency department at the Royal Bolton Hospital.

Doctors gave him an anti-venom injection and an adrenaline jab after immediately diagnosing that he had been bitten by a snake.

Mr Lynn, aged 51, was admitted and spent Tuesday night in the hospital under observation.

A blood sample has been sent to the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine to determine which type of snake he was bitten by, although experts are "95 per cent certain" it was an adder - the only venomous snake in England - and not an escaped poisonous pet.

Rob Hall, snake expert and manager of the Viper and Vine snake shop in Bury New Road, Prestwich, said: "This type of bite is almost certainly an adder bite. If it had been a venomous snake,such as an escaped pet it would have been much more serious, whereas Mr Lynn's symptoms are consistent with what I would expect with an adder bite."

Mr Lynn has now been discharged but must take a cocktail of painkillers and anti-inflammatories to reduce the swelling and help with the discomfort.

He said he has no fears about returning to his favourite walking spot.

"It was a real shock, especially when I realised it was a snake bite, but I love nature so this won't put me off walking in the slightest. At the end of the day I haven't been seriously hurt," he said.

Only 10 people are believed to have died in the country after being bitten by an adder in the last 100 years.

Hugh Lamont from the Health Protection Agency said: "Adder bites are extremely rare and are rarely serious, although if someone has been bitten they should seek medical attention as soon as possible."


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