There’s no such thing as “Snake Season” really, but as the temperatures rise during early spring here, so do snake sightings and encounters. Already this year we’ve had three stories in the news.
Firstly, I heard that in Wynnum, which is in east Brisbane on Bayside, a 2 metre long carpet Python (which is a non-venomous snake) like this one…
…was spotted crossing the road. There was also a sighting of a red bellied black (which is venomous) close to Wynnum Memorial Park. That was on 16 September and you can read more at the Courier Mail.
It’s at this time of year that snakes are on the move looking for a mate, that’s why we are seeing more activity; the guy snakes are looking for a girlfriend snake.
Three days earlier the news covered a story of how a dog “saves family” from a poisonous brown snake. The YouTube video has now been taken down, but I watched it and I could see no evidence that the snake was attacking any family members, but I’m sure the parents feel more comfortable now that the snake is gone.
It’s great to see that Geoff the Staffie survived his encounter, this next dog wasn’t so lucky.
This item may have only hit the news today, but it was on September 12 when Bonnie the border collie got bitten by an eastern brown snake in Acacia Ridge, which is about 12 kilometres east of where I live. She didn’t survive. Again, the full story is at the Courier Mail.
My own snake/pet story dates back to last month; it was on 18 August that I discovered a small and, unfortunately, dead baby snake in my back garden.
The killer would have undoubtedly been one of my cats and from the photographs my snake expert tells me that he tends to believe this was a young brown snake, probably around 12 months old…
Which ever one of my cats attacked this poor snake was lucky to survive; even a baby snake has enough venom to kill an adult, let alone a cat. I’m not proud of the fact that my cats attack wildlife like this, and I truly wish that they wouldn’t. On the other hand though, with a young daughter who often plays in the garden with her friends, I’m not keen on the world’s second most venomous snake being in the same place at the same time either.
Keeping children and pets safe from snakes
The problem with cats and dogs is that they are often either very inquisitive, or aggressive. Any snake sighting is bound to provoke a response.
The best way to keep your cats and dogs safe from snakes is, of course, to keep them indoors. For the most part, our dog is an indoor dog, other than letting her out to go to the toilet. Our dog also gets regular exercise from being taken to the dog park which is fenced.
Although a snake could easily get into the area, any snake would have to be suicidal to hang around in a dog park.
Our cats are outdoor cats during the day, but we inherited them when they were 8 years old as outdoor cats, so switching them to indoor cats didn’t seem right.
Indoor cats do, on average, live much longer than outdoor cats, not just because of snakes, but also because they are safe from ticks, traffic, dogs, possums, other aggressive cats and the many infectious diseases that they can catch from other cats.
The best thing you can do for your children, yourself and your pets is to keep your garden and surrounding outdoor area as tidy as possible.
- Keep the grass cut short.
- Keep the weeds down.
- Keep outdoor sheds and garages tidy.
- Don’t pile up compost, weeds or cuttings in your yard.
- Don’t leave out any food or water sources for snakes.
- Be aware that ponds and water features can attract snakes.
- Basically, eliminate all sources of cover under which a snake could hide.
Doing these sort of things will not safeguard your garden from snakes, but it will mean if a snake is on your property you’re more likely to see it. It also makes it less likely a snake will want to go onto your property as snakes much prefer to roam around under cover and in thick vegetation.
When out and about, never walk in long grass or weeds and never put your hands into an area where you can’t see what might be in there.
- To put the real risk of snakes into perspective, see my page about Australia’s Killer Creatures and Death.
- For details of first aid in case of a snake bite, see my post What To do….
There’s much more information in Geoff’s book, that’s Geoff the snake catcher, not Geoff the Staffie, which has a whole host of information about snake safety, keeping your pets safe and protecting your home from snakes.
It has a complete chapter on pets with some fascinating facts and figures on the numbers of pets that get bitten by snakes each year, along with the survival rates for both cats and dogs.
- See Living with Snakes by Geoff Coombe, available for instant download exclusively from this website.
Finally, just to be clear, I’m telling you this not to scare you, but to make you aware. Living in constant fear of snakes is not the Australian way, being aware of the dangers and knowing what the true risks are is.
After all, us humans like to come out to play in the Australian heat as well.