How a miniature Daschund took down a brown snake and won

BRAVE: Priya Hartigan, 11, of Stockton with her dog Slinky. The five-kilogram dachshund fought a one-metre eastern brown snake to the death in the family's backyard this week. Picture: Simone De Peak
BRAVE: Priya Hartigan, 11, of Stockton with her dog Slinky. The five-kilogram dachshund fought a one-metre eastern brown snake to the death in the family's backyard this week. Picture: Simone De Peak

SHE might be small in stature, but this Stockton dog is now known as Slinky the brown snake slayer.

Named after the toy dachshund with the stretchy body from the movie Toy Story, Slinky weighs in at just five kilograms, and this week she took on a deadly eastern brown and won.

The one metre snake entered the backyard of Slinky’s Newcastle Street home on Wednesday afternoon.

Tracey Hartigan was inside when she heard seven-year-old Slinky barking.

When she went to investigate with her 11-year-old daughter Priya, they found the miniature Daschund running around the yard with the snake in her mouth.

“She was fighting the snake, she had it in her mouth and was shaking it like crazy,” Mrs Hartigan said. “We were calling her, but she just kept going until the snake was dead. It went on for about five minutes all around the yard and I could see the snake striking at her.”

After the snake was dead, Slinky collapsed on the back deck and was rushed to the nearest veterinary clinic where she was given a half-dose of anti-venom. Three hours later, her face started to swell and she was given the other half of the serum that costs about $700 per vial.

Nathan Hartigan and snake.

Nathan Hartigan and snake.

The eastern brown is the second most venomous snake in the world

Mayfield Veterinary Hospital also treated a cat that was bitten by a brown snake at Stockton this week and survived.

Slinky’s battle is the latest in a run of snake encounters on the peninsula in the past few months.

In September, the Johnson family was trapped inside after a large brown snake took up residency at their front door. Earlier this month, customers at Lexies on the Beach found a 1.5 metre eastern brown coiled up in a pot plant.

Judith Martin, of Reptile Rescue, said there were “heaps and heaps” of brown snakes living in the rock wall along the Hunter River in Stockton.

“They eat the water rats,” she said. “We’re in breeding season at the moment so they’re all out looking for mates, it will settle down in the next few weeks.”

Mrs Martin said it was likely Slinky suffered “dry bites”, where the snake does not inject venom when it strikes. There is, however, a small amount of venom on the fangs. 

She said new subdivision works at Fern Bay might also have seen a migration of snakes to Stockton.