BENDIGO residents are urged to take caution around bush and grassland, with a bumper snake season expected.
Local snake catcher George Moore was called out to his first job of the season yesterday, wrangling a metre-long brown snake at Kangaroo Flat railway station.
“It’s certainly an early start this year,” he said.
“You normally don’t see them until the end of October and November when the temperature starts to warm up and they’re looking for something to eat.
“Looking at the weather, it’s going to be very hot and gusty, which is perfect weather for snakes.”
Brown snakes, which mainly feed on mice, frogs and lizards, are the most common variety in the area, followed by red-bellied black and tiger snakes.
“When they’re waking up they’re most lively,” Mr Moore said. “When we had the El Nino, really dry weather, about five years ago, I caught 156 of them in one season.
“I’m required by the DSE to release them in a safe area nearby.”
Mr Moore has been bitten twice in his decade-plus snake catching career – including once on the neck by a seven-foot brown snake – but hasn’t been to hospital.
“Yeah, I wouldn’t recommend that... people should use a tourniquet and get to hospital,” he said. “They’re quite common around One Tree Hill and people often get bitten while mowing the lawn.”
Mr Moore said snakes usually didn’t use venom during bites unless really agitated, preferring to save it for prey.
The snakes generally become less active around January.
Anyone who spots a snake should call Mr Moore on 0428 195 941.