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Sep 18

Merredin reptile expert gives tips on how to avoid snakes in the grass

Stay away: Michelle Marks with Lara, her 11-year-old pet Stimson’s python, a native to Western Australia, but she warns people to stay away from snakes in the wild.WITH a Laverton man dead and another five people hospitalised due to snakebites, a Merredin reptile expert has warned residents to take care.
Nanjing Night Net

Michelle Marks is chief executive officer of Western Reptile Rescue, a non-profit organisation dedicated to care and protection of Australia’s native reptiles.

She has 10 years experience working with all reptile species, including snakes and crocodiles.

“As the activity levels of reptiles rise with the warmer weather, it also means that there is a growing chance of encounters with snakes,” Ms Marks said.

“This does not mean we have to switch our brains to high alert and live in fear of them, but to simply be aware of their existence, appreciate their place in our environment and to utilise tips on avoiding negative encounters with potentially dangerous snakes.”

Ms Marks’ tips for avoiding snakes are:

At home:

Keep your grass short and gardens weeded. Snakes do not like to be in the open and will seek the cover of long grass. Keeping grass short and gardens weeded lessens the appeal for a snake.Get rid of rubbish. Rubbish may provide a snake with shelter so removing it reduces the chance of a resident snake.Keep potential food sources away. Rodents, birds and frogs can attract snakes as they provide prey opportunities.Keep your home and garden rodent free and bird aviaries and chicken coops as far from the house as possible.Wear gloves. It is important to wear protective gloves when gardening or removing rubbish and firewood. They will reduce the chance of skin being penetrated if a snake does strike.In the outdoors:

Wear protective clothing. When hiking, camping and bushwalking wear ankle-high boots, thick socks and long pants. Australian snakes have relatively short fangs less likely to penetrate skin through thick clothing.Keep bedding stored away. When not in use, fold up your camp bedding and keep it off the ground. Shake it before use.Awareness:

Give snakes a wide berth. If you see one, do not catch it, attempt to kill it or scare it away. Simply give it plenty of space and it will move away.Teach children. Children are less likely to be bitten if they are educated in snake safety. You do not have to teach them to be afraid of snakes, just teach them to never touch or pick up a snake.First aid. Become familiar with snake bite first aid. Snakes rarely bite or attack unprovoked and it is critically important to never attempt to catch or kill a snake. Not only is it illegal to do so, but it severely increases the risk of snake bite. Around 80 per cent of snake bites in Australia are a result of the victim attempting to catch or kill the snake.If a snake is sighted in your home or business, call a licensed snake removalist who is trained and equipped to capture and relocate the snake safely.

Western Reptile Rescue provides snake relocation as a community service and is based in Merredin.

This service is free however the organisation relies on community donations to survive.

For snake removal phone 0423 322 584 or for information email [email protected]