Warning as snakes get active in spring
WILDLIFE rescue organisation WIRES is warning people to keep a close eye out for snakes as the weather warms up.
While snakes don't "hibernate" in winter, they enter a state called "brumation" where they slow down and only move around on warmer days, usually to find water.
But during spring snakes can become more defensive and territorial - so it is a good idea to be a little more wary.
Never try to catch or kill a snake. Snakes are not normally aggressive; however, they will defend themselves if threatened and this is when most snakebites occur.
Discourage snakes by keeping your lawn neat and dispose of excessive leaf litter, garden waste, building materials or woodpiles near the house. Snake-proof your aviaries, pet enclosures and chicken pens with 1cm square mesh wire. Check that windows and doors have secure insect screens and weather strips to close gaps at ground level. Try to train all family members to keep screen doors closed. Placing water at your fence line can minimise the need for snakes to come near the house.
In reality, WIRES states that it is only occasionally that snakes and humans come into conflict - generally because the snake cannot make a quick exit.
Many people pass close to snakes every day but because snakes are so afraid of us and prefer to stay out of our way, we never notice. Snakes quickly learn the daily movements of the resident humans.
Snakes are protected by law and play an important role in our ecosystem. Often relocating snakes is not ideal.
Relocating snakes out of their territory puts them at risk of not finding water and food, and a "stranger" snake that does not know your movements may move into that territory and increase the risk to you.
Help at hand
WIRES Snake Handlers will come to the rescue if a snake is inside a house.
If possible leave the snake an avenue of escape: close the room off and leave outer doors and windows open so the snake can leave when it no longer feels threatened.
If you have a snake caught in netting, see a snake that might be injured or have seen a snake in the same position for a number of days, call WIRES immediately on 6628 1898.
If you are keen to make a difference for the wildlife in our area, consider joining WIRES. For more information about how you can join and contribute call 66281898.