Be smart dur­ing snake sea­son

Isis Town and Country - - Front Page - El­iza Goetze El­iza.Goetze@news-mail.com.au

SNAKE sea­son is well and truly upon us and it’s a pop­u­lar topic: what to do with an un­wel­come slith­ery crea­ture?

Di­larnil snake catcher An­drew Buck­ley of­ten comes across com­ments, es­pe­cially on so­cial media, that dis­ap­point him.

“Peo­ple of­ten say, ‘Just kill it’,” Mr Buck­ley said.

“It’s not only very dan­ger­ous but it’s against the law.”

The more re­mote the area, the more this at­ti­tude oc­curs as “peo­ple like to try and sort things out them­selves”.

Mr Buck­ley says most snake bites oc­cur when peo­ple try to harm or kill snakes, and is urg­ing peo­ple: “in­stead of pick­ing up a shot­gun, pick up the phone”.

“Snakes are a vi­tal part of the ecosys­tem; with­out them we’d be over­run by mice and rats that peo­ple con­sider pests,” he said.

“Think: Is this crea­ture ac­tu­ally help­ing me? It’s a ‘the en­emy of my en­emy is my friend’ type of thing.”

This year’s snake sea­son kicked off early, at start of spring, due to un­usu­ally warm weather.

As a snake catcher Mr Buck­ley is pas­sion­ate about dis­pelling the bad rap that snakes get.

“My job is about ed­u­ca­tion,” he said.

“When I do a res­cue, I let peo­ple touch it. That dis­pels the myth of them be­ing slimy and all of that.

“You see their faces change as the ideas they get from movies go out the win­dow.

“It might take five min­utes for me to catch the snake but I could spend an­other hour talk­ing to the peo­ple, and they pass that in­for­ma­tion on to their friends.”

Mr Buck­ley said the re­cent at­tack by a taipan on Agnes Wa­ter tod­dler Eli Cer­vantes was “very sad”.

“Un­for­tu­nately when hu­mans and an­i­mals come to­gether ac­ci­dents can hap­pen.

“It seems likely he may have star­tled the snake which struck him.

“I have kids my­self and it’s al­ways a con­cern.”

He hopes his two-year-old son, who al­ready keeps a bearded dragon and a blue

Most bites oc­cur when peo­ple try to harm snakes. — Snake catcher An­drew Buck­ley

tongue lizard, will grow up with an affin­ity for an­i­mals.

He said he planned to re­but re­cent com­ments on ra­dio that sug­gested snakes de­lib­er­ately hunt do­mes­tic an­i­mals.

“Snakes don’t come out to pur­posely at­tack.

“They went on to say that brown snakes will tar­get your pets and go after them. False in­for­ma­tion keeps per­pet­u­at­ing these fears.

“In gen­eral brown snakes are quite docile and more de­fen­sive if any­thing.

“Most times when pets get bit­ten it’s be­cause they to stick their nose in and paw at things.

“They’re dan­ger­ous, but only in the wrong sit­u­a­tion.”

He warns young, en­er­getic snakes are of­ten more ac­tive and ag­gres­sive than large ones, “like lit­tle dogs”.

An­drew Buck­ley runs Buck­ley Snake Re­lo­ca­tion Services, ser­vic­ing around Bund­aberg, Childers, Gin Gin and Biggen­den on Face­book or 0456 934 578.

PHOTO: CONTRIBUTED

UN­FAIRLY DE­MONISED: Snake catcher An­drew Buck­ley has a pas­sion for crea­tures great and small.

PHOTO: CONTRIBUTED

SLITH­ERY FRIEND: Snake catcher An­drew Buck­ley with a python ear­lier this year.

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