Tue, 4 Sep, 2018
"You'll get them everywhere": Snake catcher's grim warning of Aussie plague this summer
A snake catcher has issued a warning for residents across the country to be aware of their surroundings as the weather gets warmer, as there is a high chance reptiles will emerge to get some sunlight after a long mating season throughout the cold winter.
Tony Harrison, a snake catcher from Queensland’s Gold Coast, said that September was the month when reptiles are out searching for a companion to mate with.
According to Mr Harrison, snakes emerge from bushlands on warm days and are most prevalent during summer.
Speaking to Daily Mail Australia, Mr Harrison said: “You’ll get them everywhere.”
He added, “When temperatures drop below 23C, you don’t see a lot of them, they slow right down.
“They’re not gone, they’re just not as obvious as they usually are but as soon as weather warms up they’re a lot more active, which is what’s happening right now.”
Andrew Melrose of Shire Snake Catchers Engadine in NSW said that the peak time for snakes and reptiles is spring, as that is the season when they breed.
Christmas time is also an active period as they look for food, and then in April when they prepare for the colder months.
“We do get a bit dry towards July – August – toward spring, after this bit of rain as temperatures start to warm up and they start to think about breeding and mating,” said Mr Melrose.
Earlier in the year, a Queensland resident, Aaron Bryant was fatally killed by a snake bite after he tried to remove a baby eastern brown snake from his home.
Mr Harrison recommends taking a photo and sending it to a snake catcher for identification before attempting to remove the reptile yourself, as many people often misidentify snakes.
“For your average person, it’s hard to tell which one's which,” he said.
“If you see a snake don’t go and stir them up, take a photo from a distance.
“It’s human nature to go and stir a snake up, what will happen is the snake will defend itself, and that snake could put you in hospital.
“A lot of people make mistakes and end up in hospital.”
According to data from the Department of Health, Townsville Hospital emergency department has seen 103 patients who suffered from snake bites in the past financial year alone.
But despite the large number, Mr Melrose said that a bite was usually a snake’s “last resort".
He said that when a snake is in unknown territories such as your home or workplaces, they are not there to bite you as that plan of attack is strictly for defence purposes.
“The best advice I give to anyone to avoid a bite if you do see it ... the best thing is just leave it alone – call the experts and don’t try to catch or killing it because the snakes will usually (not be interested in) you.”