Yes, that's right, Canberra! Spring is also THE season of snakes when they emerge from their winter hibernation and begin to feel very hungry and very lusty. So they slither back out into the world and start looking for food and for mates. Because Canberra is THE Bush Capital, we are also the snake capital. And that means plenty of snakes slithering and sliding about in our suburbs. Such as this Red-bellied Black snake found in Duffy.
And the Eastern brown snake that was caught in August in a school library in Gordon, as reported recently in The Canberra Times.
Canberra's snakes Eight species of snakes are known to inhabit the ACT. These are the Eastern Brown snake*, the Common Tiger snake*, Red-bellied Black snake*, Black Headed snake (rarely sighted as its nocturnal), the Blackish Blind snake, White-lipped snake*(pretty common at higher altitudes), the Highlands Copperhead snake*, and the Common Bandy-bandy snake.
The Eastern Brown Snake is the most frequently seen in suburban gardens. The Red-Bellied Black Snake, Tiger Snake and the Black-headed Snake are seen only occasionally. But while five of these snakes (those marked with an * above) are regarded as potentially dangerous to humans and all of them (except for the blind snake) are venomous, snakes are actually shy, nonaggressive creatures that will quickly retreat if not provoked.
An Eastern brown snake, very commonly seen in the suburbs. Source:https://www.facebook.com/CanberraSnakeRescue/photos/a.142090339493907/602513313451605/?type=3&theater
However, that doesn't mean we should be letting our guards down during snake season. It's important to be aware for both our sakes, our pets' sakes, and for the sake of the snakes themselves, because Canberra is their home too!
Snakes are protected by law in all states and territories of Australia and may not be killed unless they threaten life. Offences under the Nature Conservation Act 2014 carry severe penalties. Snakes cannot be taken from the wild, kept without a licence, or traded without a licence.
What do you do if you see a snake? Snakes will sometimes enter suburban gardens in search of water, particularly during long, dry periods. In the ACT, snakes are most active from October to March when they sun themselves or when they move in search of food or water.
Here are some tips from Canberra Snake Rescue & Relocation if you come across a snake this spring: 1. DO NOT go near the reptile, particularly if it is a snake or you are not sure what species it is. Keep pets and children away. STAY CALM. 2. CALL Canberra Snake Rescue & Relocation on 0405 405 304.
If possible, take a photo on your phone and text it to them, but only if it is safe to do so.
3. Try to keep tabs on the animal while ensuring to keep your distance.
4. Wait for Canberra Snake Rescue & Relocation to arrive and point them in the right direction.
If you or someone else has been bitten by the snake, call 000 (or 112 from a mobile) immediately. DO NOT CALL Canberra Snake Rescue & Relocation first. Keep as still as possible and apply first aid (compression bandage) to the affected limb until help arrives.
Remember that snakes can move fast, particularly in hot weather, and they can strike out over large distances when aggravated. Whatever you do, DO NOT attempt to catch the snake or get a good look up close!
Leave snake-catching to the professionals! Source:https://www.facebook.com/CanberraSnakeRescue/photos/a.154978754871732/858507134518887/?type=3&theater
For more information on snakes and snake awareness and education, please visit the excellent Canberra Snake Rescue & Relocation website here. Canberra Snake Rescue & Relocation will also be holding a Reptile Awareness & Snake Safety program for the Canberra community on September 28 from 1pm-3pm at the Jerrabomberra Wetlands in Fyshwick. One of Canberra's leading reptile experts, Luke Dunn (the co-owner and operator of Canberra Snake Rescue & Relocation) will cover everything from identification of local reptile species, snakes and their behaviour (including ways to minimise snakes on your property and negative interactions with snakes), snake venom, and most importantly, snake bite first aid. Tickets are $10 per participant and can be booked here.
And the National Arboretum Canberra will be hosting a Snake Awareness and Safety for Young People workshop during the school holidays. Taking place on October 2 from 10am-12pm at the National Arboretum. To book your tickets, please go here.
Whether you like it or not, snakes are a fact of life (and very much a part of life) in our beautiful Bush Capital. Yes, we have the second most venomous snake in the world-the Eastern brown snake-slithering about in our backyards. But let's be thankful that we Canberrans don't have to deal with these beauties below like they have to do in Far North Queensland (next to crocodiles and Irukandji jellyfish!).