Spring sun brings reminder of snake safety

By Jed Lanyon

With the sunshine appearing once again, many native species, including snakes, become more visible.

The re-emergence of snakes can elicit a panicked response, which DELWP forest and wildlife officer Hannah Ransome says isn’t necessary.

“People and snakes have more in common than most of us realise. We have matching taste in terms of weather: we both like seeing the spring sunshine at the end of a long winter, which is why our paths cross on lovely spring days; and we both want to be out and about enjoying the outdoors.

“And like most humans, snakes don’t want a fight. They enjoy a little personal space and are happiest when left alone to go about their business.”

Ms Ransome said there are some misconceptions about snakes and their behaviour. Snakes are unlikely to bite unless provoked or startled.

“People often worry about encountering snakes during warmer weather. But rather than be alarmed or fearful of snakes, spring offers a good reminder to be aware of them; and simply give them a wide berth if you come across one on the golf course or in your yard.”

The most common snakes found in Melbourne are Tiger Snakes and Lowland Copperheads.

In drier areas, Eastern Brown Snakes are common and occasionally the Red-bellied Black Snake.

Some key points to remember about living in or visiting an area with snakes is that if you see a snake, keep calm and remain still or move away from the snake.

Never touch or attempt to capture or hurt a snake. Instead call DELWP customer service centre on 136 186 who can 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.

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