Warmer weather prompts snake safety reminder

Anthony Adams of Southern Downs snake catchers wrangles an eastern brown snake at a property in Warwick late last year. Picture: SOUTHERN DOWNS SNAKE CATCHERS

By Jeremy Cook

Though often misunderstood, snakes play an important role in our natural environment.

Which is why, like all Australian animals, they are protected under Queensland government legislation and cannot be killed or taken from the wild.

As summer approaches and temperatures start to heat up, snake sightings in homes and on properties can become more frequent.

It means online community social media pages are becoming more regularly littered with snake sightings, prompting safety reminders from authorities.

In Queensland, all wildlife is protected under the 1992 Nature Conservation Act. Attempts to harm or even keep wild snakes as pets is considered an offence punishable by hefty fines and potential jail time.

Given their protections under state law, trained professionals should be called to remove snakes from private properties.

Anthony Adams, a licensed snake catcher based in Warwick, said people should not try and provoke a snake, if spotted in or around the home.

“Definitely just give it a bit of space,” Mr Adams said.

“Don’t approach it, don’t try to hand it or even try to move it away yourself,” he said.

“If it’s in a house or a room and you see it go into a cupboard or something like that, shut the door of the room that he’s in and just put a towel in front so he can’t come underneath.”

By keeping a safe distance, Mr Adams said it was also important to not lose sight of the snake.

“They can get into some very small spaces and when you lose one in the house, it’s a big job,” he said.

“Don’t try to handle it or even try to move it away yourself.”

“If someone’s going at it to try and injure it …, that’s when the snake’s going to feel threatened and more likely to come and try to bite you.”

If a snake is spotted outside, Mr Adams said to just monitor it.

“Try and keep an eye on it as best you can,” he said.

“Otherwise just get inside and get your pets away and let it go its own way.”

While the exact frequency of snakebites in Australia is unknown, estimates suggest there may be several thousand each year.

In Queensland alone, ambulance services have already responded to 599 snake bites throughout 2023 and 74 in the Darling Downs region alone in the past 12 months to August.

While only a handful of people die from snake bites each year in Australia, Mr Adams encouraged residents to brush up on their first aid skills and take steps to prepare themselves in the event they are bitten.

“Getting the bandages on straight away, that is very important,” he said.

“If you sit still, get the bandage on and call an ambulance, you should be right.

“But if you get bitten and you’re running and moving around heaps, that’ll push it [the venom] through quicker and you won’t have as good of an outcome.”