Expert tips as snakes wake up
TASMANIA’S snake population is rousing from its winter slumber but herpetologist Simon Fearn says humans have little to fear if they keep out of their way.
Copperheads are out and about searching for their favourite prey — frogs — in wet areas like Launceston’s floodplains while tiger snakes are moving into the urban fringe in Hobart to hunt rats, mice and birds. Mr Fearn, from the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, said Launceston supported a solid frog populations and, in turn, many copperheads. He said snakes did not seek out human company and copperheads were very shy.
“The most important thing to avoid a snake bite is to leave snakes alone,” he said. “Take a commonsense approach, wear sensible footwear and thick socks. Don’t reach into hollow logs, holes and other places a snake might live.”
Snakes will often hear humans and flee before being seen, but if snakes and humans do come into contact, experts suggest it’s best to freeze.
“By not moving you become another large inanimate object in the landscape and the snake will simply carry on with its original activity.”
Around the home is another matter. Mr Fearn recommends reducing places snakes can take cover which also reduces bushfire risk.
People wanting to know more about snakes, lizards and frogs can attend a meet the experts day at the Launceston museum from 10am till 1pm on November 17.