AS THE weather warms up a lot of us tend to dust-off the 4x4 gear, let the psi in the tyres down, and head off to find a secluded camp spot, but it’s also the time of year when you’re more likely to encounter our slithering, legless mates who are becoming more active.
Lachlan Clarke, a wildlife officer from the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP), said: “Snakes are emerging from their winter hibernation to bask in the sun and to search for food and a mate. The recent sunny weather also means more people are spending time in their gardens or in parks and forests.”
Victoria in particular is home to a number of venomous snakes – Eastern Browns, Tigers, Lowland Copperheads and Red-Bellied Blacks – and it’s important to remember that, although they are highly venomous, it’s rare for them to bite people.
“These species [listed above] are known to bite animals when disturbed,” he added. “If you are a pet owner and your dog or cat encounters a snake causing you concern, the best course of action is to remove your pet from the area or tie it up while the snake passes.
“Snakes are generally very shy and prefer to keep away from people – often snakes are found in backyards because they are passing through on their way to other habitat.
“Being aware that snakes may be around and being informed about how to react to them is very important at this time of year.”
These handy tips were posted on the 4WD Victoria website (www.4wdvictoria.org.au):
- If you see a snake – keep calm and try to move yourself, anyone with you and your pets away from the snake.
- Never touch or attempt to capture or hurt a snake – instead call DELWP Customer Service Centre on 136 186, who will provide you with advice or put you in contact with your nearest licensed snake catcher.
- Have a spring clean – clean up around the house and cut lawns regularly. Snakes are attracted to shelter such as piles of rocks and timber, sheets of metal, or building materials.
- Undertake first aid training, ensure your first aid kit contains several compression bandages, and if someone is bitten call 000 immediately.
- Snakes are protected under the Wildlife Act 1975. It is illegal to capture, kill or harm them. Bites can occur when people try to kill snakes.