Snakes slither into spring

Alpine Observer - - People Around Town -

WARM­ING weather is see­ing snakes now be­come more ac­tive and a lot more vis­i­ble across the Alpine Shire.

The Depart­ment of En­vi­ron­ment, Land, Wa­ter and Plan­ning (DELWP) Re­gional Man­ager of En­vi­ron­men­tal Com­pli­ance, Nathan Stamkos, said that snakes are emerg­ing from their win­ter hi­ber­na­tion to bask in the sun and to search for food and a mate.

“The re­cent sunny weather also means peo­ple are spend­ing more time out­doors and it is quite likely they will en­counter a snake,” he warned.

Eastern brown snakes are the most com­mon in north east Vic­to­ria with the oc­ca­sional tiger snake or red bel­lied black snake, which are usu­ally found around wet­lands, creeks and rivers.

“Th­ese three species are highly ven­omous, but it is rare for them to bite peo­ple. Most snake bites are re­ceived by peo­ple who try to cap­ture or kill a snake,” Mr Stamkos said.

“Snakes are known to bite an­i­mals, such as dogs, if they feel threat­ened. If your dog or cat en­coun­ters a snake, the best course of ac­tion is to re­move your pet from the area or tie it up while the snake passes. If you sus­pect your pet has been bit­ten take it to a vet im­me­di­ately.

“We would like to take this op­por­tu­nity to re­mind ev­ery­one that snakes play an im­por­tant role in our ecosys­tem and are pro­tected un­der the Wildlife Act 1975.”

It is il­le­gal to cap­ture, harm, or kill a snake and re­ports of peo­ple wil­fully de­stroy­ing pro­tected wildlife will be in­ves­ti­gated ac­cord­ingly.

“Be­ing aware that snakes may be around, and be­ing in­formed about how to re­act to them, are the most im­por­tant as­pects of manag­ing snakes,” Mr Stamkos said.

Peo­ple are re­minded that if they see a snake to keep calm and to move them­selves or any­one with them away from the area.

For fur­ther ad­vice or to have the snake re­moved call DELWP on 136 186 or a li­censed snake catcher.

Lo­cals are urged to main­tain lawns and clean up around their houses, as snakes are at­tracted to shel­ter such as piles of rocks and tim­ber, sheets of metal, and build­ing ma­te­ri­als.

Peo­ple are also en­cour­aged to un­der­take first aid train­ing and to en­sure their first aid kit con­tains sev­eral com­pres­sion ban­dages.

If some­one is bit­ten, call 000 im­me­di­ately.

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