Keep an eye out, snakes alive

IT’S that time of year again when snakes come out of hibernation, hungry and aggressive.

As the weather becomes warmer, we’re seeing the snakes make the most of their sunbathing opportunities.

Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources manager of animal welfare, Dr Deb Kelly, said snakes typically began coming out of hibernation toward the end of August.

“It’s important to keep your yard tidy all year round. Wood heaps, long grass, piles of rubbish and stored building materials such as corrugated iron are all common spots to find snakes, and they also make good cover for mice and rats, which are their favourite prey,” she explained.

Dr Kelly warned that small water sources could also attract snakes, warning those to be vigilant with where pet water is placed.

“Bird feeders not only feed visiting birds but also attract rodents, which provide a readymade food source for snakes,” she said.

Brown snakes are widespread across South Australia, and are commonly found on the Adelaide Plains, where we can also come across red-bellied black snakes and tiger snakes.

“A newly-hatched eastern brown snake has enough venom to hospitalise or even kill an adult, even when they are 15cm long.

Dr Kelly said most snake bites happened when people were trying to catch or kill a snake.

“For that reason, if a person or a pet is bitten, it’s vital to seek medical attention immediately,” she said.

“These are all native animals, so remember they have their role to play in the ecosystem, including helping to control rodent populations.”

Dr Kelly wants to remind everyone to keep their distance and do not panic if you come across one.

“Most snakes are not aggressive and they won’t chase you, so just be sensible, keep your distance and call in an expert rather than trying to deal with them yourself,” she said.

Snake catcher, David Pick, of Adelaide Plains Snake Catchers, said the solution for preventing snakes this summer is to destroy any food sources such as mice.

 “Get rid of mice in hay sheds, their holes make an expressway for snakes to their food source, as hay sheds are a virtual fast food outlet for snakes and a five-star hotel,” he said.

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