A snake bite left an animal rescuer fighting for his life.

Trevor Weeks, founder of the East Sussex Wildlife Rescue and Ambulance Service (WRAS), lost consciousness after being bitten twice by an adder.

Doctors and medical staff even told the 38-year-old’s friends and family to prepare for the worst.

Mr Weeks and his WRAS colleagues were called out after a pair of adders got stuck in some netting on a Lewes allotment.

But while carefully checking the snakes for injuries, Mr Weeks was bitten on the finger of his left hand, and then given a venomous bite on his right hand.

Within a few hours he was lying in an accident and emergency hospital bed.

Speaking yesterday Mr Weeks said: “The first snake I checked over fine, but the second one was clearly a lot more agitated.

“He was very wriggly and only a youngster. He bit my finger and as I reacted the adder bit my other hand and it was a venomous bite.”

Mr Weeks, who was not wearing gloves so he could handle the small snakes, said: “I finished checking the snakes and put them in a box so they could be released then thought I’d better get my bites looked at.

“We went to Lewes minor injuries unit and the nurse put an ice pack on them. Within about half an hour I started developing a bit of pain and eventually lost consciousness.

“She called A&E at the Royal Sussex in Brighton and the paramedics came out.

“My blood pressure was really low and I passed out again. Apparently the paramedics were working on me for about 15 to 20 minutes at Lewes Hospital.

“I was taken to A&E where they had an anti-venom waiting because my reaction had been so extreme.

“While they were treating me the doctors came out and told my girlfriend Kathy Martyn that there was a chance I might not survive.

“They were saying they were really worried about me. It was certainly something they hadn’t come across before.”

It is thought that medication Mr Weeks was taking to lower his blood pressure had increased the severity of his reaction to the venom.

"This wasn't a situation a member of the public would normally find themselves in," he said.