Snake catchers are already in hot demand this season, with Bendigonians reporting sightings of the slithering reptiles around their homes.
Flora Hill man George Moore has been capturing unwanted snakes for 17 years and said recent warm weather drew the animals out of hiding.
“They seem to be all over the place, looking for the food, frogs and lizards,” Mr Moore said.
His most recent find was a two-metre-long brown snake at a Strathfieldsaye home yesterday. The sunbathing creature was first spotted by residents the day before, but disappeared before Mr Moore arrived.
“This one I call groundhog day – I had to go to the property twice to catch them,” he said.
The snake catcher was enchanted by the snake and its colouring; an unusual freckled pattern ran along its body.
Reptiles were a passion of Mr Moore’s since childhood, when he would walk South Australian train tracks with his railway worker father, picking up lizards along the way.
Read more: Snakes come out as weather warms up
He has since tried his hand at breeding snakes, as well as harvesting their venom for medical laboratories.
But snake-handling was not for the fainthearted and even Mr Moore was scared from time to time.
He recalls coming face-to-face with an agitated brown snake underneath a Flora Hill home. When he shone his flashlight on the animal, it reared up into an s-shape, which Mr Moore said was a sign it could attack.
He turned off his flashlight, hoping to avoid a bite. After some time, he again turned on the torch and the snake disappeared. He quickly crawled out from underneath the house and never returned.
Other times, he wasn’t so lucky, copping bites to his neck and little finger.
“If you stand on them, of course they’re going to bite you, or if you persist on playing with them you probably will be bitten by them,” Mr Moore said.
“But they'll leave you alone if you leave them alone.”
Snake do’s and don’ts from the Royal Flying Doctor Service include:
- Do NOT wash the area of the bite or try to suck out the venom. It is extremely important to retain traces of venom for use with venom identification kits.
- Do NOT incise or cut the bite, or apply a high tourniquet. Cutting or incising the bite won't help. High tourniquets are ineffective and can be fatal if released.
- Do bandage firmly, splint and immobilise to stop the spread of venom. All the major medical associations recommend slowing the spread of venom by placing a folded pad over the bite area and then applying a firm bandage. It should not stop blood flow to the limb or congest the veins. Only remove the bandage in a medical facility, as the release of pressure will cause a rapid flow of venom through the bloodstream.
- DoNOT allow the victim to walk or move their limbs. Use a splint or sling to minimise all limb movement. Put the patient on a stretcher or bring transportation to the patient.
- Do seek medical help immediately as the venom can cause severe damage to health or even death within a few hours.