$1.6 billion project drives hundreds of snakes into homes
A TOOWOOMBA snake catcher who has been rounding up deadly reptiles for 15 years says construction work on the Toowoomba bypass is to blame for record snake numbers this year.
Dave Wiedman from Toowoomba Snake Catchers 24/7 recently caught his 100th brown snake for the summer and the total number of all snakes he's caught exceeds 700.
He described this season as "the busiest ever" which he blamed on Toowoomba Second Range Crossing construction works.
Mr Wiedman said habitat destruction caused by bypass constructor Nexus had driven many of the snakes into residential properties on the outskirts of Toowoomba.
He said fewer people were also killing snakes, which meant more were active.
Consistent hot weather conditions also made the snakes more active.
Mr Wiedman said snake activity would lessen about the end of March when cooler conditions arrived.
With the unusually high number of snakes about, Mr Wiedman said it was important for gardeners to have a mobile phone handy so they could contact an ambulance in an emergency situation.
Protective clothing is also important, with Mr Wiedman recommending long pants like jeans and thick boots.
He's also promoting the message about the important roles snakes play in the ecosystem.
"If we didn't have snakes we'd have plagues of rats and mice, and frogs."
Have you seen a snake this season?
This poll ended on 17 March 2017.
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.
He said snakes did not actively attack people, and preferred flight to fight.
A Transport and Main Roads spokeswoman said: "During the warmer months, when it is snake breeding and feeding season, they can become active and are frequently encountered by people."
She said Nexus had several measures to protect wildlife during construction works including having snake catchers on call during excavation.
Nexus also creates temporary escape routes during vegetation clearing.
During vegetation clearing:
- Conducting fauna surveys prior to works to identify habitats
- Clear marking out of habitats and "no go" zones
- Fauna spotter-catcher/s (experts in the management of wildlife during land clearing trained in species identification, techniques for capture and handling, health assessment, care and release) on site before and during works
- Creation of temporary fauna escape routes and fish passages
- Daily pre-clearing monitoring for wildlife and protected fauna
- Staged clearing to create connectivity for relocation of fauna and to maintain habitat links
- Relocating fauna, in particular the Delma torquata (Collared delma), a small legless lizard.
- Local snake catchers on call
- Fauna-spotter catcher on call
- Installation of 100 nesting boxes (for fauna such as birds and possums) in vegetation adjacent to the alignment
- Working with local wildlife experts in the care of fauna found to be sick, including possums, lizards, bees, koalas, birds and bats.