Mathoura woman learns that snake catchers are rare
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.