A COPPERHEAD snake discovered in a Ballarat backyard early this week highlights a timely warning about snakes as the weather warms up.
The copperhead was retrieved by Ballarat Wildlife Park staff and is now safely tucked away in the park for assessment before being released back into the wild.
Ballarat Wildlife Park manager Stuart Parker said it was important people were reminded of basic avoidance and first aid as snakes ventured out of hibernation.
“The warmer months they all start to wake up again and while you occasionally see one this time of year, you generally need a few days of warm weather in a row to bring out snakes – most are tucked down low and take a while to feel the warmth,” Mr Parker said.
“You’ve just got to show good respect and leave them be.”
Mr Parker said snakes were not territorial or protective of their young – they only bite out of fear or for food. Walking away from a snake was often the best option, making sure the snake did not feel cornered.
The key points are: keep calm and move yourself and your pets away; never touch, capture or hurt snakes; have a spring clean about the house and lawns, tidying up potential shelter such as rocks, timber, sheet metal or building material; and, know first aid and how to use a compression bandage.
If you have a snake in your backyard, contact the Department of Sustainability and Environment on 136 186 or a licensed snake catcher.