A BIG HILL couple's unexpected wintry guest has "given us a bit of a startle".
The red belly black snake, measuring more than a metre in length was looking for some sunshine on the winter's day, Richard Bearman said.
He and his partner Lisa were at their home when he went outside.
"There's this nice, long black thing that had decided to venture out and have a look around," Mr Bearman said.
"I thought 'you're kidding, this is not supposed to happen'."
The temperature in Bendigo reached a top of 12.7 degrees on Monday, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.
The mercury has not risen above 13.5 degrees in August.
There was a bit of cloud about when the snake was sighted, but the day had been sunny, Mr Bearman said.
"It was a skinny looking thing. It was obviously still lethargic because of the weather. It looked like it wanted to sun bake in the grass for a little bit," he said.
Mr Bearman and his partner have lived at the property since December last year. The snake was the first red belly they had seen, though they had seen a few browns in the warmer months.
TZR Reptiles and Wildlife's Chris Page has removed two snakes from central Victorian properties in the last fortnight.
"There are some periods in winter where you won't have any call-outs. But in the last three weeks the weather has been a bit warmer," he said.
Contrary to popular belief, snakes do not go into hibernation over winter.
Instead, they go into a state called "brumation", Mr Page said.
"This means they are active but won't eat as they need heat to help digest their food," he said.
The Big Hill sighting was a reminder to always pay attention, even during winter.
"Snakes are definitely still around this time of year, particularly in rocky crevices and in gardens, so you might see them when you are tidying up," Mr Page said.
Snake safety tips from the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning
- Keep calm if you spot a snake, move yourself, anyone with you, and any pets away from the snake
- Stay away, snakes are protected under the Wildlife Act 1975, making it illegal to capture, kill or harm them, bites can occur when people try to kill snakes
- Never touch or attempt to catch a hurt snake, instead call the DELWP customer service centre on 136 186 where staff can put you in contact with a licensed snake catcher
- A spring clean can keep snakes away, snakes love shelters like piles of rocks, timber, sheets of metal and building materials
- Know your first aid, undertake training and make sure that your first aid kit has several compression bandages to hand
- If someone is bitten by a snake, call 000 immediately
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