Snakes on the slither

by Ruth Birch
11th October 2015

WITH an exceptionally warm start to Spring breaking all sorts of records, it makes sense our local “Snakebuster” Raymond Hoser has been in demand.

On the day we caught up for a chat he had been out to collect and move nine different snakes from seven different homes around Melbourne, including Donvale, Wonga Park, Warrandyte and incredibly even in densely developed Coburg. At two separate jobs he came across fights between two male Brown snakes, with all of them being captured and moved on.

In Warrandyte and surrounding suburbs, people can expect to see Tiger Snakes, Lowlands Copperheads and Eastern Browns, which are all incredibly dangerous.

While snakes will usually go away if left alone, anyone with dogs or children on the property are advised to call a snake catcher immediately. Although they charge a minimal fee, they will be there much faster than the council or DSE and he advises keeping an eye on them from a distance so they can easily be caught on arrival.

Generally, snakes don’t particularly need food to survive on a property and will seek out places to make their home based on shelter rather than the availability of food and water.

Things to avoid leaving around the home that create the perfect shelter for snakes include pieces of wood, metal, rocks and anywhere a snake can hide, no matter how small the area.

He also recommends making holes along the bottom of fence lines if you have dogs, so the snake has an escape route instead of being forced to defend themselves.

Many will choose the option of escape if available, rather than attacking the dog. According to Raymond, if a dog is bitten, owners can expect a bill of several thousand dollars with no guarantee of survival.

In Warrandyte, walking along the river especially, residents are urged to take care as the water source and plenty of northern sun maintains a healthy ecosystem for them to breed, sometimes in clutches of up to 26 at once, not uncommon for the tiger snake. Browns and Copperheads will still average around 8 to 12 eggs a clutch, which is why it is important for the snakes to be removed in the first instance they are seen as they could bring harm to children or pets.

If someone or a pet is bitten, it is important to be able to easily identify the snake so that the right anti-venom can be administered.

Evident by its name, the Brown Snake is brown, averages about 1.5 metres and has a small head that is barely distinguishable from its head alone. Hatchlings may present with dark markings around the body and head.

The Lowlands Copperhead is less common and tends to grow to about the same size, range in blackish to grey brown, sometimes with an orange or brown flush, which often results in them being mistaken for a Red Belly.

The Tiger, the most aggressive of the three, can be identified by its bands ranging in colour from blackish brown, to olive, yellow and black.

Always remember to carry your phone with you when out and about in the warmer months, not only so you can call an ambulance immediately if bitten, but to snap an identifying photo of the snake if possible.

While snakes will very rarely strike unless they are disturbed, their incredible camouflage skills continue to result in inevitable accidents. If you or someone close by is unfortunate enough to be bitten, don’t panic, ensure they stay still and apply a pressure bandage above the bite before getting them straight to hospital.

Call 9812 3322 or visit www.snakebusters.com.au