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How to deal with snakes

Some people see snakes as something to be scared of. For others, they’re okay dealing with them. Most people would be a tad uncomfortable if they knew there were sharing their home with them.

You can get a little crazy and alarmed if you are out walking and one starts coming towards you. The first instinct when you don’t know what to do is to run away or defend your space. It has to be said though that this can lead to the persecution of these animals with acts of violence often committed against them. This is the case even when the most harmless of snakes is sighted.

Dealing with snakes can be challenging and even as a snake catcher I am happy to concede that. But the answer is to learn more about the way it hunts for prey, finds food, finds a mate, and the way it lives. Learning about how they outgrow their skin and change it at least once a month is amazing to me.

snake prey

What we do when we encounter a snake is something that is learnt and not instinctive. Snakes are commonly found in the suburbs, at the beach in parks and scrubland, in fact, they are regualarly found in our part of the world! They are all over SE Queensland and it would be impossible to not encounter one if you are here for any length of time!

There are different types of snakes. The common one that can be found everywhere is the Eastern brown snake. Each region has its local speciality or version.

What if you see a snake?

1. The best thing you can do is to simply leave it alone. Generally, snakes are shy. They generally will not attack unless they are provoked. If you leave a snake alone it will just get on with doing its own thing. So, just leave them be.

2. If you see a snake inside your home, get everyone to leave the room. This includes your pets, they are likely to corner the snake and that is when things can get dangerous! Close the door securely together with all windows to avoid the snake escaping. Fill the gap underneath the door using a towel. You should then call a professional snake catcher for help with a description of the snake if you can.

3. If you see a snake outside, just keep an eye on it and monitor it to make sure it doesn’t get into your house. If it’s heading for the bush, it’s probably going away never to return. It will be more challenging if it gets into some corner of your backyard, or under your car. If it suddenly disappears into a shed, it would be best to call a snake catcher to help you, just to be sure.

How do we avoid snake bites?

1. Do not attempt to catch or kill a snake yourself. Our advice is to always assume that any snake you encounter is venomous. Give it space and wait for a professional!

2. Don’t forget that little snakes can be dangerous too. Baby brown snakes are venomous from the moment that they hatch. Don’t underestimate even tiddlers and try to catch them yourself.

3. It would be safer to stick to the trails in national parks and reserves. Try to make the sound of your steps a little louder when you walk. Snakes don’t hear you but they do feel the vibrations.

4. Your outside spaces should be clear of debris. That way snakes won’t go hiding in piles of rubbish or overgrown areas. Cutting your grass short and keeping it that way is a great tip!

5. Make sure your property is well maintained and clean and free from vermin. Snakes love nothing more for their dinner than rats and mice.

What to do if you do get bitten?

snake bit first aid

1. Always assume that the snake that bit you is venomous.

2. This thought is likely to trigger anxieties but stay as calm as you are able. Sit quietly and still as this will reduce the speed that any venom can move around your body.

3. Call an ambulance immediately.

4. Utilize your first aid kit. Use a pressure bandage and immobilize the affected limb or area.

5. Try to remember what the snaked looked like so your doctor can assess the situation better.

Always keep in mind that it is illegal to kill a snake unless there is a direct threat to human life. They are still protected native animals and they play an important role in our ecosystem. They do this by maintaining a balance on the food web. They help in controlling rats and mice as well.

If you spot a snake and need professional help in identifying it you can always reach out to Pat Lazzaro. He is a snake catcher in the Northern suburbs of Brisbane but is part of a large network of professionals across SE Queensland.

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