22 responses

  1. Paula
    September 23, 2013

    Having recently moved to the Gold Coast from Canada this is our (or mine) biggest fear. We live with bush right behind our property. I’ve been able to befriend 7 kookaburras into the back yard which are keeping the lizards at bay. Hoping their presence will keep the snakes away too. Plus bought some of those snake repellers that vibrate the ground as well. Having 2 young children I don’t want to leave anything to chance.

    Reply

    • BobinOz
      September 24, 2013

      Ah, yes, they’re great for a laugh those kookaburras, aren’t they? I think they will serve you better than those snake repeller things, I’ve not heard anything to suggest that they will work. Kookaburras, on the other hand, will kill and eat a snake. Fair game when that happens, it’s nature.

      I honestly don’t think you should overly worry about snakes, but just be aware they could be around and keep everything in your garden tidy as mentioned above.

      Look on the bright side, we don’t have grizzly bears here :-)

      Reply

  2. John Seabrook
    September 27, 2013

    Hello Bob, and Paula. Kookaburras are the best birds on the planet. No fear of snakes. Always in charge. Oblivious to the pestering of lesser birds. And have the most distinctive call. Raucous to some, but music to others. The Pied Butcher Bird, by the way, has a beautiful call by comparison. You might hear it at daybreak if they are in your area. And the common white backed Magpie has a call unrivalled in the bird world for its range. Always in the morning. You know you’re in Australia when you hear it.

    Reply

    • BobinOz
      September 27, 2013

      Hi John

      I am a convert too, I love kookaburras, probably my favourite bird. I think it’s impossible not to be happy when you hear those things laughing from the trees.

      There was one bird that got to me though, took a while to identify it, check out my post Oh No! Trouble with the Neighbours.

      Reply

  3. scot
    October 1, 2013

    Brown snakes, BTW, unlike most other snakes, are not afraid of you, and will aggressively and actively stalk you.

    Reply

    • Geoff Coombe
      October 2, 2013

      Not my experience with any type of brown snake Scot.
      The majority of my work with snakes over 40 years has been with different browns. My particular bag is understanding how they behave when in the vicinity of people (one or more humans).
      Definitely one of Australia’s most nervous snakes, but if you know how to behave when one is nearby, there is no reason why a brown snake will “attack” you.
      They may react vigorously to a large moving object too close (= an unknowing person) if you don’t give them the chance to get away.
      Humans stalk. But snakes may skulk.

      Reply

      • BobinOz
        October 2, 2013

        Skulk: “Keep out of sight, typically with a sinister or cowardly motive.”

        I’m not suggesting that any of my readers didn’t know the meaning of the word skulk, but I wanted to look it up myself to know precisely what it means and having done so I think it’s a great word to use when it comes to brown snakes.

        Thanks for answering this Geoff, my view is the same, a brown snake will normally only get aggressive if it really feels it’s being threatened, give it a chance to get away and it will. Us humans are simply too big for a brown snake to eat and as such he really has no interest in attacking us.

        If brown snake’s really did aggressively stalk humans, people would be dying every day.

        Scott, just so that you know, Geoff is my resident snake expert here, he has a book called Living with Snakes.

        Cheers, Bob

        Reply

  4. Tanya
    December 29, 2013

    After a very expensive run in with our 2 dogs and 1 brown snake, I would like to “snake” fence a run area for our dogs. I know that the fence would probably not be 100%, but our Jack Russell will just keep on hunting them out, and our Douge de Bordeaux is stupid enough to join in, hence two bitten dogs. We live outside Mackay in Qld and are surrounded by cane. Do you have any fencing suggestions for us? I know all snakes can climb, I’m just wondering if there is no food source and an obstacle in the way of a fence, if the browns and taipans would be more inclined to follow the mouse & snake netting and go around?
    Thanks.

    Reply

  5. Geoff Coombe
    December 30, 2013

    Tania, making a “snake proof” fence is possible, up to a point. Material-wise it is fairly simple by buying a quantity of shade cloth (or similar) at least 1.5 metres wide, the length obviously depending on how big an area you wish to enclose. If you have larger snakes in your area shade cloth up to 2 metres wide would be better.
    Fix about 3/4 of it (with staples, nails, wire, however) vertically to the outside (“snake side”) of an existing fence so that it is secure around the perimeter of the area to be protected. Do not cut the shade cloth at ground level, rather allow the other 1/4 to lay over the ground so that it is shaped like an ‘L’, with the apron on the “snake side”.
    You must somehow fix the horizontal part of the shade cloth to the ground so that a snake cannot crawl under it. This may be by using pegs, rocks, soil, rubble, or even burying the leading edge of it. This aspect is very important to do correctly otherwise the fence will not serve its purpose.
    You should have fixed the shade cloth at the top of your existing fence & also the bottom of the fence where the apron goes out at ground level.
    You could make an entirely enclosed area for your pets this way, but what about access to it? A gate is the weak point.
    Having said all of this, there can be a significant danger: if the “snake proof” area is not maintained & a venomous snake is able to enter it, the problem for your dogs is potentially worse as now a snake may not be able to quickly find its way out before being attacked (& a dog is bitten).
    If you are not sure or want more information let me know.
    Regards Geoff

    Reply

    • BobinOz
      January 1, 2014

      There’s your answer Tanya, Geoff (thanks Geoff) is a snake expert. It’s doable, but also not ideal if a snake does get in. Would be great if you could train your dogs to leave snakes alone, but I suspect that’s not doable :-)

      Reply

  6. Geoff Coombe
    January 2, 2014

    Training dogs to keep away from snakes does appear to be “doable” Bob as there is evidence that it has been successful overseas.

    Would it work with our snakes? There are a few people in South Australia who are currently looking at trialling the idea here, but it’s very early days.

    If it seems feasible I’ll let you know of our progress.

    Regards Geoff

    Reply

    • BobinOz
      January 5, 2014

      Well, if it is feasible Geoff, I’m sure it’s the way to go. Yes, please do let me know of your progress, very interesting.

      Still trying to train my dog not to bark at the moon :-)

      Cheers, Bob

      Reply

  7. Dee Smith
    January 8, 2014

    Living on a large farm in the south of Western Australia, snakes are always an issue. Thankfully we have two racehorse goannas living here too, great snake deterrents. My question is: please advise what I should do when unexpectedly facing a snake (dugite or tiger) that’s aware of my presence. Do I stop still, hoping the creature won’t continue on its journey via my feet, or do I back off quickly?

    Reply

  8. Geoff Coombe
    January 9, 2014

    Dee you have the perennial dilemma of anyone in Australia who may regularly have snakes on their property.
    What to do when confronted by a snake may depend on the circumstances.

    Reply

  9. Geoff Coombe
    January 9, 2014

    Oops not sure what happened there Dee but I have more to add.
    Where was the snake seen at the time? When (i.e. what time of the year). And what was it doing? Was it moving or basking in the early morning for example.
    The behavior of Eastern Brown Snakes has been studied in great detail by scientists, including specifically what happens when humans & snakes interact. Since Dugites are a species of brown snake, it would be reasonable to think that there may be similarities in their behavior.
    I have been working closely with venomous snakes since the early 1970s, including both species you mention.
    What I know echoes what has been found from the scientific studies about the behavior of snakes: if you are not perceived by a snake as a potential threat it will have no reason to “attack” you. Mostly they respond to movement so the idea of keeping still has merit when a snake is close by. The problem can be if a snake itself is moving & if so frightened by a human tries to get to somewhere safe, it may move in your direction to go to the nearest cover. You may think you are being “chased” or “attacked” & have to defend yourself.
    Add the sometimes spectacular defensive display of a Tiger Snake or Dugite & an unknowing human is convinced the snake is out to get them.
    In a nutshell, stay still while watching the snake to see what it will do. If it heads towards you try not to panic, but don’t do anything to disturb it while it goes to ground somewhere.
    If you want more information, Bob sells my ebook that goes into detail about human-snake interactions, with up-to-date information about snake bite first aid too.
    Hope that helps you.
    Regards Geoff

    Reply

  10. Dee Smith
    January 9, 2014

    Thank you for your suggestions. When next faced with the problem I’ll be better prepared. You’ll get a laugh on me with my first snake episode, twenty years ago now: a dugite appeared on our front verandah. I panicked and ran out the back door, grabbed a plastic bucket and headed out to find the snake to scare it off. At the time my footwear was a pair of thongs! Now is that dumb or is that dumb? Thankfully the creature had continued on its journey and wasn’t seen again. D

    Reply

  11. Geoff Coombe
    January 9, 2014

    Thongs are not as good as wearing solid footwear & trousers. Instead of a plastic bucket, next time try using a kitchen or yard broom if you have a snake near (or in) a building.
    Because of the long handle you can keep a good distance from the “bitey” end while sweeping the frightened creature across the floor & in the direction you want it to go.
    Using a hand broom would be a bit risky.
    Regards Geoff

    Reply

    • BobinOz
      January 9, 2014

      Hi Dee, yes, I do sell Geoffs book here, and very good it is too. You can read more here: Living with Snakes.

      Geoff, I think what many people would like to know is is this. Standing still is often advised in some situations as snakes tend to ignore non-moving objects. So, when someone sees a snake, is it so wrong to run like Billio? In other words, run away in the opposite direction as fast as possible?

      Surely we can outrun snakes? And surely a snake wouldn’t bother to give chase anyway?

      Reply

  12. Geoff Coombe
    January 11, 2014

    Fair point Bob.

    A fit adult should be able to outrun any Australian snake in the open. But what if you have to move amongst grass or negotiate bushes or debris to escape? A legless animal (= a snake) may be more able to move through such cover faster than a human.

    I would agree that putting space between you and a snake sounds a good idea. If it is close though, standing still would be better than jumping back & running. A danger when someone is frightened in these circumstances can be that the person trips & now cannot move away.

    Being face to face on the ground with a venomous snake is not a good idea. It’s even worse if you trip & land on it.

    Regards Geoff

    Reply

    • BobinOz
      January 13, 2014

      Fair point back Geoff, falling over in your haste would not be ideal.

      Cheers, Bob

      Reply

  13. Ash
    November 1, 2014

    Seriously keep your dog inside…. This is not at all helpful in any way keeping him inside all day while I’m at work is not an option his a puppy and very inquisitive he will harass any snake he sees there has to be something that can be more preventative

    Reply

    • BobinOz
      November 3, 2014

      Well if you come up with any better ideas Ash, we’d all love to hear it. The way I see it there are only two options, to snake proof your garden, and that isn’t easy, or train your dog to steer clear of snakes. That won’t be easy either.

      Keeping your dog inside, that’s easy.

      Reply

Leave a Reply

 

 

 

Back to top
mobile desktop