Scared of Australia’s Snakes? Move On, Nothing to Read Here….

Australia is getting hotter – it’s almost summer.

Summer is almost here in Australia and the temperatures are regularly hitting 30°C and above. It’s the sort of weather that makes you want to get out and enjoy the open spaces.

As I have mentioned previously on this blog, there always seems something to do and something different each weekend. I usually scour my local paper, “Westside News” to find out what’s going on.

This week, one headline in particular caught my eye.


Seems like it’s not just us humans who like to get out and about when the sun shines.

In the article, Kenmore Ambulance Station officer-in-charge Mark Stephens warns us that in these hotter weather conditions, snakes like to get on the move in the western suburbs of Brisbane, which is where I live.

“Queensland is home to some of the world’s most venomous snakes such as the red-bellied black snake, the eastern brown and the common death adder, so the general public should not become complacent about their safety,” Mr Stephens said.

He forgot to mention the Taipan…

A Taipan

A Taipan

But then in fairness, if he were to have mentioned every snake we can get in this area, then the list would have been 29 snakes long. Check this out, over at the snake catcher.

I literally stumbled across his site today, but it is always useful to have the telephone number of a local snake catcher. I have linked to the page that lists the snakes that can be found in the South East Queensland area, which is, again, where I live.

But the publication of the snakes on the move article doesn’t mean we are all in imminent danger. It’s a simple matter of raising awareness. Mr Stephens advises us to wear boots and trousers if we have to walk in long grass and to take care when moving corrugated iron or timber.

This is because snakes usually only bite when they are surprised, which will often happen when you find it before it sees you. Like when picking up corrugated sheets or some timber.

Just by being alert you can massively reduce your risk of a snake bite.

Some words of comfort.

  • At best, a snake can only strike an object that is within a distance of about half of its own body length. So a three meter snake can only strike something at most about one half metres away.
  • Snakes can’t see or hear very well, but they have a good sense of smell. Humans do not smell like food.
  • When a snake forms and S shape and hisses at you, it’s trying to scare you off. If you back off, it will not chase you.
  • Snakes have virtually no memory, so if you scare one but then move a couple of metres or so away, it will almost instantly forget you existed. So it’s not going to start stalking you.
  • This one is easier said than done; if you are within striking distance of a snake, it is probably better to stand still. Snakes only react to movements, so if you stay still it will ignore you. It may even just slither straight over your foot.

I’ll be keeping my eye out for snakebite news throughout this summer and if anyone gets bitten, particularly in the western suburbs of Brisbane, you will be the first to know. Unless, of course, it is me that gets bitten. In that case I will probably dial 000 first.

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