Snakeprotex passes the Chew Test.

SnakeProtex Layers - protection from Australian Snake Bites

Snakeprotex unique protective construction

The Need

As a supplier to the parks & garden industry over a long period of time, we have often received requests for snake bite protection. As safety requirements have increased people have become more concerned as to ensuring they have suitable protective apparel. OHS policies affecting councils, landscape contractors and other businesses require adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) for employees. Protection for outside workers from snakes is an issue fast becoming a recognised critical need. As this requirement for protection from snakes has been increasing for some time, we approached the manufacturer of Clogger™ chainsaw protection about the need for a ‘snake’ chap.

The Threat

Snakes are a threat in Australia. Many snakes have the capability to inflict a fatal bite. The common Eastern Brown Snake is the cause of most instances of snakebite in Australia.

Some victims of a bite from an Eastern Brown Snake do not even feel the bite. (Some little-known facts are shown below, which underline the urgent need for outside workers to wear sufficient protection).

The Product

The result of over 12 months’ investigation, design and testing is Snakeprotex™. This is a pair of gaiters designed to protect the lower leg (knee to ankle). To ensure rigourous testing for the gaiter a professional herpetologist was engaged to carry out the necessary trials. The product proved itself well, leading to our claim that Snakeprotex™ will assist in protecting a person from snakebite if worn correctly. Snakeprotex is supplied with a diagram showing how to simply and correctly wear the gaiters.

The ‘Chew Test’

Five of the most common venomous Australian snakes were put in the vicinity of Snakeprotex™ and encouraged to bite the fabric which was fitted to a realistically sized dummy leg. The snakes used were: Eastern Brown Snake, Mulga Snake, Tiger Snake, Red-bellied Black Snake, and Southern Death Adder. None of the bites resulted in venom penetration through the garment. To quote from the test report provided by the herpetologist; “In all cases when a snake bit the gaiter on the model leg or bit the gaiter separately, no venom was detected on the inside of the gaiter, even when examined under magnification.”

More recent tests on the newer model used a much more difficult test to pass: a Taipan while being held by a person bit the garment. This is a much tougher test firstly because the Taipan has the longest fangs of any Australian snake.  The snake was allowed to remain latched onto the garment for 30 seconds while its venom glands pumped continuously. This prolonged bite is referred to as a ‘chew’. It must be stressed that a bite of this nature is extremely unlikely in a real life attack: most snake bites are simply a short, sharp, open-mouthed ‘tap’. Large amounts of venom were visible on the surface after the bite but again, there was no venom penetration through to the inside of the garment.

Why Snakeprotex is so Good

This product was designed for protection from Australian snakes and rigorously tested for performance. Alongside this critical need, the garment had to be tough enough to withstand the harsh Australian environment. Shown below are some of the product features that are incorporated in Snakeprotex™.

The Snakeprotex gaiters must be worn over suitable trousers and boots and definitely should not be worn with low cut shoes. The zip fastens from the top to the bottom so gravity keeps it zipped. The garment should be worn with the zip on the outside of the leg. A rubber strap under the boot keeps the garment in position vertically, stopping the garment from riding up the leg. They’re built tough!

We cannot claim that the product is “snake-proof”. There are too many variables involved for us to claim this. Nor can we guarantee that a snake may not strike the body above the top of the garment, although it would be unlikely from most Australian snakes. It should be noted that even when wearing this prod­uct, common sense should still apply and the wearer should still avoid contact with any venomous species. Snakeprotex is designed to prevent a snake’s fangs penetrating through to the skin.

Extensive testing has shown that large specimens held in captivity were not able to penetrate this protection. On this basis, and with the support of a very experienced herpetologist, we are proud to release this unique outdoor safety product on the Australian market.

Photos and images used in this document may show slight variations in the product. This is a result of the rigorous testing and alterations which followed. We like to ensure that we supply the best protection available and the in-field success of this product will be constantly monitored. We will never release a product which has not passed the ‘chew test’ tested as mentioned earlier.

Testings were conducted by Adelaide Hills Snake Catchers, Geoff Coombe (Herpetologist) & Venom Supplies Australia.