Don't Panic, But Snake Season Is Here Earlier Than Expected
Snake season has come early, so it's time to mow those lawns and throw away those wood piles.
The sighting of snakes earlier than normal after winter in NSW has prompted the Australian Reptile Park to issue a warning about the slithery reptiles.
Australia is home to the world's most venomous snakes, which have made an early appearance because of the warm temperatures and the wet weather on the East Coast.
Snake season usually starts around mid-to-late spring, but a mild winter has brought them out early, Daniel Rumsey, ARP Head of Reptiles, told 10 daily.
"The temperatures have been around 27 to 28 degrees," he said.
"The warmer weather means the snakes need to find food, and the males will be looking for a mate."
Rumsey said the ARP had been inundated with messages and photos from the public asking to identify snakes found, including a photo of two snakes in Queensland mating.
"The messages have been coming in so much earlier than normal," he said.
The ARP warns people should be vigilant of their surroundings for not just snakes, but for hazards that are perfect hiding places as well.
READ MORE: Woman Throws Snake At Driver In Carjacking
Keeping grass around homes short and well-maintained makes spotting snakes easier, while wood piles left over from winter are the perfect snake hiding spot.
For those with tin sheds and roofs, it's important to keep a look out as the metal is a conductor of heat, making it a popular habitat for snakes.
“These habitats provide a safe house for snakes as they sit in stealth mode awaiting prey to feed, and if startled they will defend through biting," said Rumsey.
About 300 people a year receive antivenom, produced from venom milked from snakes at the ARP, the only zoo in Australia to do so.
But with about 3000 people bitten by snakes around the country each year, the ARP is urging people to brush up on their snake knowledge and safety.
"Experience tells us basic awareness and safety can also help save lives," said Rumsey.
If not treated, a bite from a venomous snake can be fatal in as little as 30 minutes, depending on the type of snake and how much venom was injected. Depending on the species, the venom can destroy blood cells, cause blood clots, excessive bleeding and destroy tissue.
Basic first aid can be the difference between life and death.
The ARP advises the bite victim to be kept calm and immobile and a pressure-immobilisation bandage put on to cover the entire limb.
“By applying the pressure-immobilisation bandage, venom cannot easily spread through the body, slowing down the envenomation process by giving more time for the bite victim to seek antivenom at hospital," said Rumsey.