Many of the world's most venomous snakes live in Australia. In South Australia, the majority of venomous snakes found in residential areas are the:
- eastern brown snake (Pseudonaja textiles)
- red-bellied black snake (Pseudechis porphyriacus)
- copperhead snake (Austrelaps superbus)
- western brown snake (Pseudonaja nuchalis)
- tiger snake (Notechus scutatus).
Snakes tend to be inconspicuous. They will try and avoid confrontation with a human by either moving away and hiding, or lying still until the person has moved away. However, like most wild animals, snakes will defend themselves if they are startled, feel threatened or are cornered.
Why are there snakes in urban areas?
Some snake species, like the eastern brown snake, seem well-adapted to co-exist with humans. In urban environments its diet consists mainly of introduced species like rats and mice.
Snakes shelter in wood heaps, under corrugated roofing iron and in piles of rubbish, all of which are often found close to houses. They will make use of any cover close to the ground.
Like any other animal, snakes need food, water and shelter. And people inadvertently provide these requirements, making their property a haven for snakes.
There are several things you can do to make your property less attractive to snakes and reduce your chances of being bitten:
- clean up rubbish around the home
- keep gardens tidy
- take steps to reduce mice and rats
- check boots before putting them on if left outdoors
- never put your hand somewhere that can't be seen.
If you find a snake
If you do come across a snake, keep children and pets well clear and do not try to touch it. Almost all snake bites occur when people try to handle, kill or harm a snake.
Contact a DEW licensed snake removal service, they will be able to catch the snake and remove it. If possible, watch where the snake goes so the snake catcher can find it.
Snake catchers are licensed under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972.
If an eastern brown snake is causing anxiety or danger to a person snake catchers can:
- keep (if they hold a specialist permit to keep protected animals with appropriate endorsements)
- trade the animal to any person with suitable authority to keep such a snake
- translocate (ie relocate within 2 kilometres of the capture site), or
- humanely destroy them.
If a snake catcher captures a snake that is not an eastern brown snake, it must be either relocated back into a suitable habitat within two kilometres of where it was captured, or humanely destroyed.
Snake catchers can also locate, capture and relocate common reptiles that are causing anxiety to a person, such as bluetongue lizards and bearded dragons, within their normal range.
For snake removal services
- look under snake on the Yellow Pages website, www.yellowpages.com.au
- contact the DEW Fauna Permit Unit (phone (08) 8124 4972)
Disclaimer: The department accepts no responsibility for any accidents which may occur through the actions of the snake catcher or any other person in the capture, holding, consignment or release of any venomous snake.