News / Education / 19th October 2023
Snake season slithers in
Watch your step! With warmer weather on the way, it’s the perfect time for a refresher on snake safety, to ensure everyone can have a safe and enjoyable time in nature.
Local snake catcher, Steve Wallace said most snakes that went into hibernation last season would have survived dormancy due to fairly mild conditions over winter.
“Moving into the warmer months, we’ve got perfect conditions for all sorts of snakes to come out and look for a mate, lay eggs, or give birth to live young if they’re black snakes,” Mr Wallace said.
“We also had a mouse plague just before winter, so there’s lots of mice in the field that are still around, and though the snakes are coming out of dormancy with plenty of fat reserves, they’ll still be hungry and looking for both food and a mate.”
Mr Wallace said that as we move into snake season, it’s important for the public to be aware that Australian is home to some of the most venomous snakes in the world.
“The eastern brown snake – which is all we have around Coonabarabran, we don’t have king browns – is responsible for 27 out of the last 35 snake-related deaths in Australia; so they actually kill more people than taipans.”
Going into some of the gruesome details about the effects of a brown snake bite, Mr Wallace said the venom creates clots in the brain, liver, kidneys, and lungs.
“It also has a myotoxin in it to help the muscles relax, allowing the venom to move through the system.”
When it comes to treating a snake bite, Mr Wallace said the first thing you will need is a 15-centimetre bandage, with adult limbs requiring two of these bandages.
“Basically, you just need to start at the bite site and work up from these until you run out of bandage,” Mr Wallace said.
“So, if bitten at the knee for example, you would start at the knee and work your way up towards the groin, and then all the way back towards the ankles.”
Mr Wallace did recommend, however, not to bandage the fingers or toes in the event of a snake bite, as this may keep the venom in these areas and may exacerbate the effects of the venom.
“The most important thing is to go towards the heart first – start at the bite site, then wrap towards the heart.”
To avoid being bitten in the first place, Mr Wallace said it’s important to always remain vigilant when bushwalking and to wear thick jeans or other clothing to protect your legs from snake bites.
“It’s also a good idea to carry a snake bandage or two and, if bitten, stay calm and cool,” Mr Wallace said.