Fangs of Death enters the dangerous world of venomous snakes. It shows a professional snake handler with brown and tiger snakes; how to milk snakes for serum; and how to treat a snake bite wound with antivenin and a razor. It also shows a small child happily handling a carpet snake. It warns the audience of the dangers of deadly snakes in high summer throughout New South Wales, and what to do if bitten.
This dramatic clip provides a warning to the audience by creating a sense of danger about Australia’s venomous snakes. The presence of a snake handler deftly picking up and handling dozens of writhing brown and tiger snakes, and gracefully dodging their attacks, adds a layer of spectacle to the newsreel.
The snake handler, George Cann, demonstrates the method used to treat a snake bite – using a razor to ‘scarify’ the wound, cutting off circulation to stop the venom spreading, and then pouring on the antidote of antivenin. Today, improved methods of treatment, and the increased availability and effectiveness of antivenin, have reduced the number of fatalities, which are mostly from brown snakes.