THE first 20 degree days of the spring in the past week has brought that warm glow of the season, but it also has meant a return of some cold-blooded reptiles.
Snakes have awakened from their winter hibernation and are slithering back to life, looking for a mate and for food.
And as people spend more time outdoors, there's a greater likelihood you will come across some slippery reptiles.
Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) acting regional manager environmental compliance Nathan MacDonald said copperheads are common around the Grampians region early in the season, with Tiger, Red Bellied Black and Brown Snakes becoming more common as the weather heats up
"These four species are highly venomous, but it is rare for them to bite people," Mr MacDonald said.
"Most snake bites are received by people who try to capture or kill a snake."
While it is unlikely a snake will attack you, they are likely to go after animals if they feel threatened.
"Snakes can be known to bite animals, such as dogs," Mr MacDonald said.
"If your dog or cat encounters a snake, the best course of action is to remove your pet from the area or tie it up while the snake passes and if you suspect your pet has been bitten take it to a vet immediately.
"Snakes are generally very shy and prefer to keep away from people and often when a snake is found in a backyard it's because it's moving through the area to other habitat. Being aware that snakes may be around, and being informed about how to react to them, are the most important aspects of managing snakes," Mr MacDonald said.
"We would also like to take this opportunity to remind everyone that snakes play an important role in our ecosystem and are protected under the Wildlife Act 1975. It is illegal to capture, harm, or kill them. Reports of people wilfully destroying protected wildlife will be investigated accordingly."
WHAT TO DO
- When left alone, snakes present little or no danger to people
- If you see a snake, keep calm and move yourself and anyone with you (including pets) away from the area
- Don't attempt to capture or harm snakes. Instead call DELWP on 136 186 for further advice, or call a licensed snake catcher
- Maintain lawns and clean up around your house, as snakes are attracted to shelter such as piles of rocks and timber, sheets of metal, and building materials
- Undertake first aid training and ensure your first aid kit contains several compression bandages, and if someone is bitten, call 000 immediately.
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