Ex­pert tips as snakes wake up

Mercury (Hobart) - - NEWSFRONT - HE­LEN KEMP­TON

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.

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