Hikers beware! Tasmanian snakes on the hunt already

Published: September 8, 2021

It may only be early September, but anyone travelling in Tasmania is being warned that snakes are already on the move.

The reptiles don’t usually become active until mid-October on the Apple Isle, but the unusually high temperatures have changed the game.

Snake handler Justin Kneebone told the Mercury newspaper that it certainly paid to keep an eye out.

 

“It’s started a bit earlier than normal, since July we have had some call-outs around the state which is quite unusual,” he said. “I think it’s because we don’t really have that seasonal winter anymore … we’ve had the warmest winter we’ve had in many years so they’re getting out and about.”

There are three types of snakes in Tasmania, the copperhead, the white lipped snake, and the tiger snake. All three are venomous.

“At the moment they will come out on sunny days when there’s a bit of warmth out,” Mr Kneebone said. “They haven’t eaten in five months so they go searching for food, there’s usually mice and rats and baby birds they can eat.”

The snake handler said anyone who sees a snake should stay at a safe distance and not approach.

“Down south, tiger snakes are the most common people will come across and they can be common along bushwalking tracks.” Mr Kneebone told the Mercury. “If people are bushwalking they’re need to watch where they’re going and take precautions … I would recommend carrying compression bandages.”

He said wrapping bandages on a bite will restrict the flow of venom and give a victim more time to get to hospital and get better help.

 

In January last year a 79-year-old man died after being bitten by a tiger snake. It was the first reported death by snake bite in Tasmania in 43 years.

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