Shepparton News

Snakes are on the move

- By Darren Linton

As the weather warms up snakes are starting to emerge from their winter hibernatio­n to bask in the sun and search for food and a mate. Department of Environmen­t, Land, Water and Planning senior wildlife management officer Therese Davis said some snakes were already out of hibernatio­n across Victoria.

‘‘Snake species commonly found in northern Victoria include tiger snakes, redbellied black snakes, eastern brown snakes and copperhead­s,’’ she said.

‘‘Most snake bites occur when people try to capture or kill a snake.

‘‘Snakes can be known to bite animals, such as dogs, if they feel threatened. If your dog or cat encounters a snake, the best course of action is to remove your pet from the area or tie it up while the snake passes and, if you suspect your pet has been bitten, take it to a vet immediatel­y.’’

Despite their deadly reputation snakes generally have a shy dispositio­n and prefer to keep away from people.

Often when a snake is found in a backyard it’s because it’s moving through the area to other habitat.

‘‘Snakes are more common around the urban fringe or in rural parts of Victoria, but they can also be found close to cities and towns, particular­ly around watercours­es and parkland,’’ Ms Davis said.

The key things to remember according to DELWP are:

● When left alone, snakes present little or no danger to people.

● If you see a snake, keep calm and move yourself and anyone with you (including pets) away from the area.

● Don’t attempt to capture or harm snakes. Instead call DELWP on 136 186 for further advice.

● Maintain lawns and clean up around your house, as snakes are attracted to shelter such as piles of rocks and timber, sheets of metal, and building materials.

● Undertake first-aid training and ensure your first-aid kit contains several compressio­n bandages, and if someone is bitten, call 000 immediatel­y.

Snakes are protected under the Wildlife Act 1975 and it is illegal to harm or kill them or capture them without authority.

Reports of people wilfully destroying protected wildlife are routinely investigat­ed by the conservati­on regulator.

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