Spring in Vic­to­ria – we all love it, even snakes

Mansfield Courier - - COURIER | OPINIONS/PEOPLE -

THE ar­rival of spring weather means that ev­ery­one is want­ing to get out of doors, at the same time as Vic­to­ria’s snakes are start­ing to be­come more ac­tive.

Se­nior sci­en­tist from the Depart­ment of En­vi­ron­ment, Land, Wa­ter and Plan­ning’s (DELWP) Arthur Ry­lah In­sti­tute (ARI) Nick Cle­mann said: “Through­out Vic­to­ria at this time of year snakes are emerg­ing from win­ter hi­ber­na­tion to get some sun, look for food and a mate.

“Spring means many peo­ple want to get out and do things l i ke walk­ing dogs, cy­cling, bush-walk­ing, en­joy­ing parks and gar­den­ing so, de­pend­ing on where they live and walk, they are likely to see a snake,” Mr Cle­mann said.

“Snakes are more com­mon in ar­eas around the ur­ban fringe or in ru­ral ar­eas, but they do turn up sur­pris­ingly close to cities and towns, es­pe­cially around wa­ter­courses and in park­land,” he said.

“Closer to the Vic­to­rian coast the most fre­quently en­coun­tered snakes are Tiger Snakes and Low­land Cop­per­head, while in the drier ar­eas, Eastern Brown Snakes are com­mon and Red­bel­lied Black Snakes are also en­coun­tered.

“All four species are dan­ger­ously ven­omous, but it is rare for them to bite peo­ple.

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

If you live in an area with snakes please re­mem­ber:

if you see a snake - keep calm and try to move your­self, any­one with you and your pets away from the snake;

never touch or at­tempt to cap­ture or hurt snakes – in­stead call DELWP on 136 186 for fur­ther ad­vice, or call a li­censed snake catcher;

have a spring clean - clean up around the house and cut lawns reg­u­larly – snakes are at­tracted to shel­ter such as piles of rocks and tim­ber, sheets of metal, or build­ing ma­te­ri­als;

un­der­take first aid train­ing, en­sure your first aid kit con­tains sev­eral com­pres­sion ban­dages, and if some­one is bit­ten, call 000 im­me­di­ately; and

snakes are pro­tected un­der the Wildlife Act 1975 - it is il­le­gal to cap­ture, kill or harm them. Bites can oc­cur when peo­ple try to kill snakes.

I’M BEAU­TI­FUL: PHOTO: Pam Zierk-Ma­honey

DE­MON GLORY: It was re­ported as “the most suc­cess­ful sea­son in his­tory” as Mans­field se­niors de­feated Shep­par­ton East by 118 points, the re­serves win­ning by 43 points.

HOL­I­DAY HAZ­ARDS: The start of the school hol­i­days were over­shad­owed by a huge bliz­zard on Mt Buller, knock­ing out tele­phone net­works, while one fa­tal­ity and sev­eral in­juries arose out of a num­ber of car ac­ci­dents.

SNAKES ALIVE: Warmer days means snakes are alive and ac­tive - watch for them in gar­dens and on walks - cop­per­heads are com­mon to the Mans­field re­gion.

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