Environment SA News

Watch out for snakes

Warmer spring days sees South Australia’s snakes slither out from their winter sleep, signalling the start of snake breeding season. The Department for Environment and Water is advising everyone to be increasingly aware in both regional and urban areas.

Watch out for snakes
Ecologists are warning that snakes are becoming more active

With increasing sunshine, snakes have already started to come out of brumation (a hibernation-like state), looking for a meal and to breed.

Department for Environment and Water’s Principal Ecologist of Wildlife Management, Dr Karl Hillyard, said there are snakes all over South Australia, including metropolitan Adelaide.

“Eastern brown snakes are found everywhere, but each region has its local specialty,” Dr Hillyard said.

“Adelaide Hills has the red-bellied black snake, the River Murray and South East has the tiger snake, Eyre and Yorke peninsulas, especially near the coast, are known places for death adders, with Kangaroo Island having copperheads and mulga snakes up north.

“Just because you’ve never seen a snake on your property doesn’t mean they aren’t there, so you should always be careful about putting your hands or feet into spots you can’t see, like long grass or that pile of junk behind the shed and remember most of our snakes are venomous to some degree.”

You can avoid snakes on your property by keeping your yard clear of long grass and removing rubbish so snakes have nowhere to hide.

Dr Hillyard said snakes are generally shy and will not attack unless provoked, so if you spot one it’s best to leave them be.

Snakes are protected native animals, and they have an important part to play in the ecosystem, especially in helping to control rats and mice.

Here’s what to do if you see a snake:

  • Keep well away.
  • Don’t try to catch or kill it yourself. This is when most bites happen.
  • If you see a snake inside, watch where it goes, keep children and pets away, then call a licensed snake catcher to remove it.
  • If the snake is outside and heading towards bushland or a field, leave it alone. Most snakes are not aggressive and won’t chase you.
  • If a person is bitten, call 000. Wrap a pressure bandage tightly over the area of the bite, then use a second bandage and splints to immobilise the limb. Keep the person calm and still until you can get medical help.

For more information on how to maintain your property to reduce the likelihood of snakes, visit the DEW website.