Stay calm around snakes

SNAKE CATCHER: Highlands snake catcher Ray McGibbon with a diamond python he relocated on September 11. Photo: supplied.
SNAKE CATCHER: Highlands snake catcher Ray McGibbon with a diamond python he relocated on September 11. Photo: supplied.

It’s set to be a hot, dry summer and snakes are already on the move in the Highlands. 

Snake season officially began on the first day of spring, and there have already been reports of snake interactions in the shire. 

Some of the most common snake species found in the Wingecarribeee are Highlands Copperheads, Red Belly Black Snakes as well as the mildly venomous mildly Mustard Belly, White Lipped and small eyed snakes.

Spring time is mating season, which means snakes are on the move to start breeding. 

Licensed snake catcher Ray McGibbon said the dry winter had sent snakes on the hunt for water. 

“We’ve had some pretty crazy weather which has thrown them all over the place,” he said. 

“They are moving in search of water and food. Their food is headed to the water so they are all travelling to the same place.”

Snakes are feared by many people, but Mr McGibbon assured Highlanders that snakes were not aggressive animals. 

“People think they are aggressive animals but that’s not true, they are defensive,” he said. 

Mr McGibbon said the key to avoiding a snake bite was to stay calm and move slowly. 

“If you see a snake stand still and don’t move,” he said. 

“Snakes see big movements as a threat so it is best to back away very slowly otherwise you will get bitten.” 

The best way to avoid a snake bite is through education and an understanding of the reptiles in general. 

Mr McGibbon said Highlanders should educate themselves on how to treat a snake bite. 

“When you are bitten stay calm. Do not move, stay still, apply a bandage straight away and immobilise the limb,” he said. 

Setopress compression bandages are the best to use for snake bites and come with a green or brown rectangle. Those with green rectangles are for the arms and those with the brown are used for legs. 

Mr McGibbon said when applied to the correct tension they should make a square. He has setopress bandages available for purchase.

Spiders are also on the move during spring. 

Funnell Web Spiders are some of the most dangerous in Australia and there is currently a shortage of anti-venom. 

Mr McGibbon collects the spiders and delivers them to reptile parks for the creation of anti-venom. 

“It’s a community effort and we could help to save lives,” he said. Mr McGibbon said he will take the spiders from community members and deliver them to the appropriate drop off point. 

Mr McGibbon can be contacted on  0400 734 225 or at ozstylereptiles@hotmail.com or through the Reptile Rescue and Relocations Southern Highlands and Surrounds Facebook page.