An Australian mother who was bitten by a venomous snake in her sleep "wouldn't be here today" if she hadn't been taken to hospital.
Brisbane nurse Nikita Aldridge, 28, woke up early one morning in December to a sharp pain in her arm and her dog barking. She noticed two small red puncture marks, assumed her pet had scratched her in the night, and went back to sleep.
"I didn't think anything of it at the time because I've never experienced anything like this," Aldridge told 7 News.
Yet hours later, the mother-of-one was in excruciating pain. Her vision blurred, she became dizzy, and began slipping in and out of consciousness.
Aldridge asked for advice on social media, leading her to call her local snake catcher - who confirmed the wound was a snake bite. The catcher rushed over to perform first aid, briefly searching for the culprit before becoming "too worried" for Aldridge's safety and driving her to hospital.
Aldridge suffered a seizure and was put on a drip for several hours to flush the venom from her system. Doctors deduced that the snake must have been in Aldridge's bed.
"The doctors said I wouldn't be here today if I hadn't gone to the hospital when I did," Aldridge said.
"Luckily my bite was from a more mildly venomous snake, but I have lupus so that made it even worse. My body was struggling to fight off the venom.
"The fact that it had been in bed with me, I was freaking out."
The snake, which has been identified as a yellow-faced whip snake by experts, has not been found. She believes it's still lurking in her property.
"[It] terrifies me when I have a two-year-old wandering around... I feel so on edge," the mother-of-one told the outlet.
"I have anxiety, nightmares and I can't sleep. I jump at everything."
Although the yellow-faced whip snake is not typically considered dangerous to humans, nurses told Aldridge that the venom was exacerbated by her lupus, rendering her body incapable of fighting it.
According to the Australian Museum, a yellow-faced whip snake bite can be "extremely painful" and cause severe swelling.
The snakes, which are common across most of Australia, can be identified by a "dark comma-shaped streak" running from the eye to the corner of the mouth and other distinct facial markings.