Mathoura woman learns that snake catch­ers are rare

Deniliquin Pastoral Times - - NEWS -

A 63 year-old Mathoura woman made more than 30 phone calls in five hours be­fore she could track down a snake catcher to re­move a red-bel­lied black snake from her verandah.

Mar­garet Good said she couldn’t find any­one near Mathoura to re­move the snake, while the catch­ers she called in Vic­to­ria couldn’t help due to cross-bor­der li­cens­ing re­stric­tions.

Now she is high­light­ing the dire need for more snake catch­ers in the area be­fore some­one gets hurt — or worse.

‘‘It’s not fair that we can’t get help here,’’ she said.

‘‘I rang a num­ber of lo­cal rangers and they couldn’t do it. They gave me the num­ber of a nearby snake catcher, who I’d al­ready rung any­way — but he couldn’t do it be­cause he was based in Vic­to­ria. All the snake catch­ers nearby seem to be based in Vic­to­ria.’’

Ms Good was first alerted to the snake when she came home by her two dogs bark­ing in the back ve­randa.

Af­ter shut­ting the dogs in the house she ap­proached the ken­nel, 3m away from the back se­cu­rity door.

‘‘I wanted to ver­ify it was a snake so I got down on my hands and knees and looked un­der the ken­nel with a torch,’’ she said. ‘‘I in­stantly saw the red belly, it nearly fright­ened the day­lights out of me.

‘‘If the snake had been found in the gar­den then I prob­a­bly would have just let it go on its way — like you are meant to.

‘‘But I didn’t want to lift the ken­nel later and be bit­ten.’’

Af­ter be­ing sent in cir­cles on the phone for five hours, Ms Good fi­nally tracked down a snake catcher in De­niliquin.

‘‘He said he nor­mally didn’t come to Mathoura, but kindly helped even though it was out of his way,’’ she said.

‘‘But now we need to find the catch­ers in NSW who can help.’’

A spokesper­son for the NSW Of­fice of En­vi­ron­ment and Her­itage said snake han­dlers from Vic­to­ria could ap­ply to be­come li­censed in NSW.

‘‘Where they are avail­able, li­censed rep­tile han­dlers catch and re­lo­cate snakes, of­ten for a fee,’’ the spokesper­son said.

‘‘This is usu­ally a pri­vate busi­ness or wildlife re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion or­gan­i­sa­tion. Han­dlers can also choose to be listed as a li­censed snake han­dler on a state wide regis­ter.

‘‘Any snakes cap­tured in NSW must be re­leased into suit­able habi­tat within 20km of the cap­ture site, and can­not be taken across state bor­ders.’’

Mar­garet Good of Mathoura had to wait five hours for a snake catcher.

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