Snake season is on the move

TINY? Alan Burnett with a 15-year-old carpet python called Tiny.
TINY? Alan Burnett with a 15-year-old carpet python called Tiny.

THE weather is starting to warm both during the day and overnight. This means more snakes are starting to become active.

Alan Burnett runs Reptile Awareness and Display, Australia with the aim of protecting native reptiles and also people who may not understand how snakes in particular behave.

"The best way to avoid the possibility of being bitten by a snake is to leave them alone," he said.

"That sounds pretty obvious, but most people are bitten when they are trying to kill or move a snake."

He said we have seven of the 10 most poisonous snakes in the world so a degree of care and avoidance is a good idea.

Mr Burnett said that south-east Queensland is snake and poisonous snake home base, with more of them than anywhere else.

'If you do see a snake just be quiet and it will more than likely move away," he said.

"Just let it go about its business. Its business does not include wanting to bite or kill you unless you are a threat."

Mr Burnett said that while long trousers and boots offer some protection against being bitten, it is largely because of the extra distance the snakes fangs have to penetrate to reach the skin.

Snakes are often difficult to positively identify as colour variations and different body patterns are common.

EASILY IDENTIFIED: Tiger snakes have very obvious markings.
EASILY IDENTIFIED: Tiger snakes have very obvious markings.

Species such as the death adder tend to be more active on warm nights, but species whose main food is frogs and toads are also active when the sun is down.

Mr Burnett said that it not only the poisonous species that can cause problems.

He said that the large lizards, blue-tongue, goanna and bearded dragon can inflict a nasty bite that can cause infections.

"If bitten by any snake assume it is poisonous," Mr Burnett said. "In the heat of the moment it is very hard to get an accurate ID.

"Call for help as soon as possible and stay still where possible."

Mr Burnett said that a compression bandage should be applied as soon as possible.

"Given that we have poisonous snakes, remarkably few people are bitten," he said. "Treatment is good with anti venom, but the best treatment is to leave snakes alone.

"Trying to kill the snake often makes a relatively harmless situation into a much more serious scenario as you now have a very annoyed snake to deal with."

Topics:  snakes summer

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