Keep your eyes peeled outdoors as 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 (DEW) has issued its annual reminder for the community, in particular campers, hikers and mountain bikers to be on the lookout for snakes both in metro and regional areas.
DEW’s Principal Ecologist, Dr Karl Hillyard explained the increase in sunshine brings snakes out of brumation (a hibernation-like state), looking for food and mates to breed with.
“Snakes can be found all over South Australia, including in metropolitan Adelaide,” Dr Hillyard said.
“Eastern brown snakes in particular are found everywhere, but each region has its local specialty.
“The Adelaide Hills has the red-bellied black snake, the River Murray, Kangaroo Island and south east have the tiger snake, while Eyre and Yorke peninsulas, especially near the coast, are known places for death adders.
“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.”
You can avoid snakes on your property by keeping your yard clear of long grass and removing any rubbish that may offer snakes a good spot 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,” Dr Hillyard said.
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