Watch out for snakes
Tamworth snake expert warns that mice-fed snakes are bigger, more venomous than ever.
By Andrew Messenger
Snakes are already waking up and they're more venomous than ever, according to a local conservationist. Chair of the local WIRES and trained snake relocator, David McKinnon, said Tamworth's snakes are going to be better-fed and bigger than ever before, after munching their way through this year's mice plague. With numbers booming, juvenile snakes will be looking for new territory to colonise, he said.
Mr McKinnon advised locals to take steps to make sure their yard isn't the most attractive new home. "They normally find some sort of hollow, whether it's logs or old metal or whatever [to have kids]. They don't like the cleared [areas] because they have no protection," he said. "Clean up your land, manage your mice. If you're particularly concerned snake deterrents do seem to work. The Better quality snake deterrents do seem to work. The most important thing is to be very vigilant, because they will be carrying more poison than in previous years."
Mr McKinnon said snakes almost always keep to themselves - 99.9 per cent of the time they will avoid people. Almost all interactions happen when they're moving into a new home, or if you're near where they keep their young. "They're coming out of hibernation at the moment, and coming out of hibernation makes them travel. And that travelling has them in people's yards, where they won't normally be. With the season we've had, we've had massive growth of grasses and shrubs. That really needs to managed and maintained. That's a great way to be surprised about a snake is when they're actually where you can't see them."
The safest bet when encountering a snake is to just leave it alone and go on with your day. But if it's in a place that will pose a danger, the safest way to get a snake relocated is to call Fire and Rescue NSW and ask for a snake handler. Locals can also contact Northern Tablelands Wildlife Carers on 0408 555 719 to seek a reptile handler.