Snakes are on the move early … and in big numbers

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Snakes and grey nomads
Grey nomads are being warned to keep their distance from snakes

The warm winter in many parts of the country means that snakes have been out and about early and travellers are being warned to take sensible precautions.

The reptiles are most common in bush and grassy areas, in particular near rivers, lakes and in coastal areas … just the sorts of places grey nomads like to visit.

However, this year has also been marked by a lot more snakes being spotted in urban areas, due to the weather and development.

“The more they destroy the habitat, the more the snakes are getting disturbed and they’re looking for somewhere to go,” Sydney snake catcher, Cory Kerewaro, told the ABC.  “There’s probably been about a 25% rise than in previous years … the snakes are waking up, looking for food and to find a mate.”

Over in South Australia, there are fears that a mice plague that is continuing to create problems for grain farmers on the Yorke and Eyre peninsulas may also attract more snakes.

Tom Dunning, from Snake Away Services, told the Adelaide Advertiser that the dry winter and more mice had set up great breeding conditions for snakes.

“I think there will be a slight increase in sightings as snakes follow their food source,” he said. “I won’t be surprised there would be more hatchlings because of the dry winter and more mice.”

In Western Australia last year 65 people were treated by the St John Ambulance service, and two people were bitten by snakes last month alone. The service says it just makes sense for people to know how to correctly treat a snake bite.

“Time is of the essence when someone has been bitten by a snake and it’s vital the patient receives life-saving medical assistance as soon as possible,” St John first aid training general manager, Aaron Harding, said. “While waiting for paramedics to arrive, keep the patient still and calm, lay them flat and wrap a bandage over the site of the bite, then apply a pressure bandage – starting from the fingers or toes and wrap upwards as far as you can go.”

He said snake bite symptoms can include headache, impaired vision, nausea, drowsiness and difficulty breathing, speaking or swallowing.

  • Have you ever had a too-close-for-comfort encounter with a snake? Comment below

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