With the weather warming up, snakes are starting to emerge from their winter hibernation to bask in the sun and search for food and a mate.
Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) senior wildlife management officer, Rebecca Dixon said the spring weather has brought snakes out of their hibernation across the state.
“Snake species commonly found in Greater Melbourne include the Eastern Brown Snake, and to a lesser extent, Red-bellied Black Snake and Tiger Snake,” she said.
“Snakes are more common around the urban fringe or in rural parts of Victoria, but they can also be found close to cities and towns, particularly around watercourses and parkland.
“Wear long pants while out walking and stick to paths, particularly in areas near long grass or water.”
In most encounters with humans, a snake will seek the fastest escape route and take-off. However, if cornered and feeling threatened, a snake will defend itself.
“Most snake bites occur when people try to capture or kill a snake,” Ms Dixon said.
To keep your pets and the local wildlife safe, keep dogs on a leash while out walking.
If your dog or cat encounters a snake, the best course of action is to remove your pet from the area or tie it up while the snake passes and if you suspect your pet has been bitten take it to a vet immediately.
“Snakes are generally very shy and prefer to keep away from people. When a snake is found in a backyard it’s because it’s moving through the area to other habitat,” she said.
“Whether you’re exercising outdoors or gardening, be aware that snakes may be around, and make sure you’re informed about how to react if you encounter one.”
If you live in an area with snakes, please remember:
When left alone, snakes present little to no danger to people.
If you see a snake, keep calm and move yourself and anyone with you (including pets) away from the area.
Don’t attempt to capture or harm snakes. Instead call DELWP on 136 186 for further advice or for details of a nearby snake catcher.
Maintain lawns and clean up around your house, as snakes are attracted to shelter such as piles of rocks and timber, sheets of metal, and building materials.
Undertake first aid training and ensure your first aid kit contains several compression bandages. If someone is bitten, call 000 immediately.
Snakes are protected under the Wildlife Act 1975 and it is illegal to harm, kill or capture them without authority.
Reports of people willfully destroying protected wildlife will be investigated by the Conservation Regulator.