Sighting a snake can be a rare occurrence, however when a snake is spotted whether it be in a workplace, at home or even while out walking it can be an immediate cause of alarm for most people.
There are many different types of snakes throughout Australia, while some snakes are harmless; there are many others that are venomous.
The most common venomous snakes in Australia are the Eastern Brown Snake, Western Brown Snake, Mainland Tiger Snake, Inland Taipan, Coastal Taipan, Mulga Snake, Lowlands Copper Head, Small-eyed Snake, Common Death adder and the red-bellied black snake.
Some people have the impression that a snake sighting will mean that the snake will immediately attack them, however this is rarely the case. Snakes camouflage themselves and most people that are bitten don’t see the snake as they are camouflaged the snake then gets stepped on or grabbed by accident and due to the scare their normal reaction is to bite / attack whatever is in their vicinity.
General facts about snakes
Snake sightings are less frequent during the winter months due to the fact that snakes are cold blooded reptiles and need the heat to regulate their body temperatures. Meaning that they will become more inactive in the cooler months and why most sightings occur during the warmer months.
Snake behaviour varies depending on the species. Snakes can see, but not particularly well and it is definitely not the strongest of their senses, however most do see very well over short distances. Snakes hear with their inner ear by picking up vibrations from the ground; this is why loud stomping can alarm a snake. Snakes also use their sense of smell with their forked tongue, rather than smelling an odour, a snake will taste the odour in the air.
Most snakes breed by laying eggs and their young hatch from these eggs, however there are some species of snakes that carry and give birth to their young.
Removing and relocating snakes
Removing and relocating snakes happens a lot more than people think. Businesses and homes surrounded by bushland usually have more snake sightings then most and if there is an attractant on the premises, the snakes can become quite a pest. As snakes are a protected species there are many laws that need to be followed when capturing a snake, one of these is that you need to have a valid Snake Catchers Licence to legally catch and release a snake in a safe manner and in a safe area.
Snake Catchers are specially trained on snake behaviour and how to catch them without harming them. It is extremely important to let the professionals catch the snake and not try to remove the snake from the premises yourself. Due to the alarm it can cause seeing a snake, trying to remove it yourself could mean that you could easily kill the snake without even thinking about it.
The removal of snakes is always an extremely urgent request and requires us to be onsite as quickly as we can to remove the snake. Flick Anticimex uses qualified snake sub-contractors for snake removals at most of our branches. Some of our branches don’t have a qualified snake contractor and in these instances the relevant wildlife department for your state can be called to arrange removal of the snake.
Tips when you encounter a snake
When encountering a snake, it is important to remember the following points:
- Do not approach or aggravate the snake in any way.
- Do not stomp your foot near the snake as this can cause the snake to attack.
- Back away slowly from the snake when it has been sighted as this is the safest way to remove yourself from the situation without being attacked.
- If bitten, stay calm and seek medical attention. Do not try to catch the snake or aggravate it any further as it will likely result in more bites.
How dangerous are snakes?
There are many different types of snakes throughout Australia, while some snakes are harmless; there are many others that are also venomous. In Australia there are about 3,000 snake bites per year, of which 200 to 500 receive anti-venom; on average one or two will prove fatal. About half the deaths are due to bites from the brown snake; the rest mostly from tiger snake, taipan and death adder.