Some things you can do to avoid confrontation with a snake.
Many of us will see snakes as something to hope we never come across. We might even be a little afraid of them. For others, they are okay with the notion of dealing with one. I guess that most people would be uncomfortable if they knew there was a possibility that they were sharing their home with one.
It can be a bit alarming if you are out having a walk and you stumble across one. Worse still if it seems to be heading toward you! You can get a little crazy and very alarmed if it isn’t something you were expecting. It is Springtime and the snakes are becoming more active so don’t be surprised if you do come across a snake on your travels.
Of course, your first instinct when you don’t know what to do may be to run away or defend your space. In our experience, we have found that this can lead to the persecution of these animals. There are acts of violence being committed against them on a regular basis. This is the case even when the most harmless of snakes is sighted.
Dealing with snakes when you stumble across them can be challenging. As an experienced and knowledgeable snake catcher, even I am happy to concede that. The solution though is to learn more about the way that they behave. Understand how they hunt for prey, find food, find a mate, and the way they live. How they outgrow their skin and change it several times each year is something worth finding out about.
What we do when we encounter a snake is usually a learnt behaviour and not one that is instinctive. Snakes are at home in the suburbs, at the beach in parks and scrubland so the chances of seeing one, especially at this time of year, are high. Snakes are regularly found in SEQ, and we believe that it would be virtually impossible to not encounter one if you are here for any length of time!
There are different types of snakes. The most common one that can be found across SEQ is the Eastern brown snake. Did you know that each region in Australia has its local specialty or version (sub-species) of this magnificent reptile?
What if you see a snake, what should you do?
The easiest and least likely to result in harm to you or the snake is to simply leave it alone. Snakes are naturally shy. They generally will not attack unless you provoke them. FACT – If you leave a snake alone it will usually get on with doing its own thing. It isn’t interested in a confrontation with you. Just leave them be.
There are times that you may see a snake inside your home. The first thing to do is to get everyone to leave the room. Don’t forget your pets. Pets may decide that it is a great game to corner the snake. In reality, that is when things can get dangerous! Once everyone is out of the room. close the door. Don’t forget the windows. That will ensure that the snake can’t escape. Fill the gap underneath the door using a towel. You should then call a professional snake catcher for help. We recommend you take a picture if it is safe to do so and that way you can give a really good description of the snake. That will help the Snake Catcher in identifying what you have!
If you see a snake outside, firstly keep still and slowly move away from it. At a safe distance keep an eye on it. Check to make sure it doesn’t decide to enter your house. If it’s heading for the bush, it’s probably going home and you are unlikely to see it again. It will be more challenging to handle if it takes a detour and gets into some corner of your backyard, or worse under your car. If it suddenly disappears into a shed, it would be best to call a snake catcher to help you. It is always better to be safe.
How do you avoid being bitten by a snake?
- Do not attempt to catch or kill a snake yourself in any circumstances! Our advice is if you’re not 110% sure of its identification, to always assume that it is venomous. Give it space. Pick up the phone and call a professional!
- Don’t be fooled into thinking that little snakes can’t be dangerous. For example, did you know that baby brown snakes are venomous from the moment that they hatch? Don’t underestimate even tiddlers. Don’t be tempted to try to catch them yourself.
- It is always safer to stick to the trails or pathways that have been created when exploring national parks and reserves. Try to make the sound of your steps a little louder when you walk. Snakes can’t hear you, but they do feel the vibrations and 99.9% of the time they will disappear way before you even reach their general site.
- Your outside spaces should be cleared of places that the snakes can hide. Clear away any debris that is lying around. 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 way to keep your environment free from lazing snakes!
- Ensuring that your property is well maintained and clean and free from vermin will make a huge difference. Snakes love nothing more for their dinner than rats and mice and even better if they find a readily available source!
What to do if you do get bitten by a snake?
- We suggest that you always assume that the snake is venomous.
- We understand that thinking that way may trigger anxieties. It is important to stay as calm as you are able. It is recommended that you sit quietly and as still as you can. This will slow down the speed that any venom will move around your body.
- Call an ambulance immediately.
- Find your first aid kit and use it. Use a pressure bandage and immobilize the affected limb or area. If you don’t have a Snake Bite specific First Aid kit then you should get one. They save lives.
- Point to note*- Try to remember a detailed description of the snake, a photo if safe to do so is even better. But this is no longer necessary as medical practitioners wouldn’t rely on this, instead they now use what’s called a Venom Detection Kit which will accurately prescribes the appropriate antivenin.
REMEMBER that it is illegal to kill a snake unless there is a direct threat to human life. They are very much a protected native animal, and they play a vital part in our ecosystem. They do this by helping to maintain a balance on the food web. They also help in controlling rats and mice too.
If you find an injured reptile there are places that you can call that will rescue it. You can contact RRQi (Reptile Rehabilitation Qld inc) directly on 1300 878 903
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. You can call him on 0407 129 260, 24/7.