A cat that protected two children from potentially encountering a deadly snake has died after being bitten in the melee.
Arthur, a domestic shorthair, was playing in the back garden of his family’s home on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland with two children when he saw the snake approach.
The family say Arthur jumped into action by attacking the snake, killing it in the process.
As the Animal Emergency Service at Tanawha team recount, Arthur was bitten as the children were being hurried to safety, and collapsed before recovering.
“An Eastern Brown Snake, one of Australia’s top 10 highly venomous snakes, had entered the backyard right where the children were playing,” the team wrote on social media.
“Arthur jumped into action protecting his young family by killing the snake. Unfortunately, in the process, Arthur received a fatal envenomation snake bite.
“In the chaos of getting the children out of the yard, no-one saw the actual bite, but Arthur collapsed and quickly recovered like nothing was wrong not long after.”
The next morning Arthur’s family found he was unable to stand and rushed him to the veterinarian hospital at Tanawha.
Unfortunately, Arthur’s symptoms were too severe to recover, with his family remembering him as saving the lives of two young children.
“His family, understandably devastated, remember him fondly and are forever grateful he saved the children’s lives,” wrote the Animal Emergency Service.
“Arthur was always getting into mischief; he had previously visited us before having been in accidents and was very much loved by our team.”
The eastern brown snake is widely considered to be the world’s second-most venomous land snake, second only to the inland taipan found in central Australia.
Human symptoms of being bitten include hypotension and collapse, and cardiac arrest.