The conclusion was the pointed combined fingers of many coroners to the mild-mannered often hay munching and occasion carrot crunching herbivorous horse as Australia’s most prolific killing critter.
Most people, if asked the question, would probably say the snake is the animal responsible for most human deaths down under, here’s why it isn’t. This article appeared in their March edition of this year and they called it…
Snakes in the grass
Last month we discovered that the most dangerous animal in Australia in terms of human fatalities is the horse. For those of you considering moving to Australia I’m sure that is the last creature you are concerned about sharing this continent with.
Other critters, no doubt, pop into your mind ahead of the horse when thinking about the wildlife down under; maybe snakes and spiders? Yes, probably. Let’s deal with snakes today and spiders next month.
I’ve lived here just over six years now, so what’s it really like living with snakes in Australia?
First, a bit of background about me, well two bits. I live in the western suburbs of Brisbane, 20 kilometres or so from the city centre. Concrete is not very popular in these parts and many houses are on acreage enjoying large, leafy green back gardens. Together, these houses back onto an even leafier green area known as Brisbane Forest Park (Area 1) which itself backs onto the D’Aguilar Range which is so leafy green we would call it the bush.
Snakes, in case you didn’t know, love leafy green. So I live in an area with a higher than average snake population. The second bit of background is that I am actively looking for snakes all the time.
Nothing pleases me more than finding a snake, taking a photograph of it, or better still some video footage and writing about it on my website. So, in my six years here, I must have seen hundreds of snakes, right? No, not right. My snake sightings can be summed up in a short paragraph.
- I’ve seen two snakes (non-venomous) that were pointed out to me otherwise I would never have seen them.
- Two snakes crossing the road in the depths of the above mentioned countryside whilst I was driving my car.
- Two more snakes on acreage properties that slithered away from me so fast I couldn’t see what they were.
- Then one snake in Byron Bay, NSW that was a venomous eastern brown but still scampered away from me as I followed it with my camera.
Seven sightings in six years and I’m virtually a snake hunter living in snake world!
Sometimes in life though you do get what you wish for and a couple of years ago I got that and more when I saw my eighth snake. It came into my house and in one of those ‘don’t try this at home’ moments, instead of calling the snake catcher I grabbed my video recorder.
I would love to have included that video here to celebrate the 101st edition of this magazine, but technically that’s not possible. If you go to my website though and just search for ‘snake in house’ (did you see what I did there for you my readers?) you’ll find the video very quickly. I survived, obviously, and so did the snake, but we had a few laughs along the way.
So are snakes a problem in Australia?
They usually account for one, two or three deaths a year here, so yes. But compared to the horse or, as I heard recently, house dust mite related deaths in the UK, these numbers are tiny. I think it’s fair to say that snakes are to be respected and it’s good to be aware, but their reputation is scarier than the reality.