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Attack fears as reptiles slither out across South Gippsland


SNAKE ALERT: Fish Creek snake catcher Neil Arnup in action.

Matt Dunn

 

SNAKES are expected to pose a serious danger, with predicted drier weather bringing the reptiles into closer contact with humans. 

Reports are already emerging of numerous early sightings, from Phillip Island to Devon North and places in between.

Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning’s (DELWP) Peter Simpson said snakes were “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 enjoying the outdoors and it is quite possible they’ll encounter a snake,” he said.

“Eastern brown snakes, tiger snakes, lowland copperheads and red bellied black snakes are all encountered in the Gippsland region, usually around wetlands, creeks and rivers.”

Breeding time leads to an explosion in snake numbers, according to veteran Fish Creek snake catcher Neil Arnup.

“Tiger snakes have an average litter of 25, while copperheads have an average litter of 16 to 18,” he said.

“But you only have to have two females in one small area and all of a sudden you can have heaps. Older female tiger snakes can have over 50.” 

He hastened to add that attrition rates were “phenomenal” for young snakes, with kookaburras, butcher birds and crows all posing a threat.

While snake numbers are likely to remain stable, drier weather can drive the search for food and water.

“The only reason there’ll be more snakes about this year is if it’s drier and they start having to look for water or food. They would have been there all the time, but now they’re forced into the open,” he said.

“Most reasons people come into contact with snakes around the house is because they’ve let the lawn grow too long or left rubbish around the yard, whether building materials or that sort of thing.

“You’ll get rodents in it and the snakes will follow. Snakes need three things: food, shelter and water.”  

Yarram snake catcher Kathleen Cropley said she was already busy, with an earlier than usual start to the catching season.

“I have had a lot of calls, I have been out to Langsborough, Devon North and in the Yarram township,” she said.

“There are quite a few red bellied black snakes around. I removed a tiger snake from a Devon North property last week and there are a lot of copperheads around as well.”

  • Snakes are protected under the Wildlife Act 1975. It is illegal to capture, harm, or kill them. If you are concerned about a snake, call a licensed snake catcher or the DELWP Customer Service Centre on 136 186.

 

Tips for reducing

risk of snake bite

 

  • Chicken owners should be careful when collecting eggs. Use a stick to feel around nesting boxes before diving in with your hands.
  • Remove pot plants and shoes from your front or back doorways. They are convenient hiding spots for snakes.
  • Don’t leave doors open.
  • If you see a snake, keep calm and try to move people and pets away from the snake.
  • Never touch, capture or try to hurt a snake.
  • Cut lawns and clear rubbish from around your property.
  • If someone is bitten call 000 immediately.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Short URL: http://thestar.com.au/?p=30160

Posted by on Oct 15 2019. Filed under Featured, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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