The Snake Files

Local Snake Catcher Casey Scholten takes us inside his slithery world of snakes and offers some fascinating insights into the life of snakes .

As most of us know, living in a rural or semi-rural location can bring with it potential challenges – snakes being one of them. We are certainly lucky to be able to enjoy all the benefits this lifestyle has to offer. However, we also take on some obligations with living in such an environment. Here is a brief insight into the life of snakes.

    As one of the local snake catchers in this area, I frequently get asked about what actions can be taken to stop snakes from “visiting” a property. The short answer is that you can’t stop them. They are a wild animal and are driven by the basic urges of eating/drinking, shelter and, at the right time of year, looking to reproduce. As a result, snakes will move within their range to fulfill these basic requirements. 

    There are a few actions you can do to make snakes more visible. For example, keeping yards tidy, mowing lawns, clearing piles of items such as corrugated iron and timber that provide great shelter for a snake. Some snakes are attracted by rodents which can be present at a property due to pet feed such as bird/chook grains and seeds. If you have pets, ensure the food is stored securely and the feed area is not readily accessible for rodents. Easier said than done sometimes, I know, but rodents are an attractant for some snakes. 

     Snakes don’t follow our rules ,so if they cruise along and find an open door or window, they won’t knock first and may just enter without you knowing. They could curl up in shoes that are left outside, or lay along the bottom of closed doors. It is a good habit to check shoes before putting them on, look down before stepping out of the door, and keep doors and windows closed, if they aren’t screened. Cats have been known to bring their “prize” home to show off , which has resulted in snakes being brought inside.

     Overall, I could write/talk about snakes for ages. I have had a lifelong appreciation for wildlife and enjoy the opportunity to interact with the different species that this part of the world offers. Not everyone is comfortable with snakes, but please don’t see them as a threat. They carry out vital work in the ecosystem, including eating rodents. 

    Some advice I will leave you with is: If you encounter a snake, enjoy it for what it is, leave it alone and it will leave you alone. If you require it to be relocated, contact a professional to do it for you. It is risky to do so yourself if untrained, not to mention illegal.

If a person happens to be bitten by a snake, seek medical treatment immediately. If a pet is bitten by a snake, get your pet to a vet immediately. While the snake may not be venomous, are you 100% sure about that at the time? Even non-venomous snakes bite and some form of antiseptic treatment should still be undertaken.

SNAKE MYTHS BUSTED

“A snake attacked me” 

WRONG! SNAKES DO NOT ATTACK PEOPLE! Snakes bite for one of two reasons, to eat or to defend themselves. We are too big to eat which leaves defence. A person may inadvertently place their hand or foot near a snake which could then bite after feeling threatened. Alternatively, a person may try to kill, scare off or pick up a snake which could also result in the snake being defensive.  

Also, the snake’s path to safety may be behind where you are standing so it may head towards you, but it would only be to get to safety. Some snakes are more display based with their defense, such as the eastern brown. These snakes can “rear up” in its well-known “S” shaped position to try and scare away a perceived threat. Again, this is not an act of attacking.

“I have a python/red-bellied black/etc so I won’t get any browns” 

NOT TRUE! Snakes can coexist within the same area. Yes, some snakes will eat other snakes at times, but this does not negate the ability for multiple species to be present in an area.

“I heard one species of snake bred with a different species of snake”

NOT TRUE! This is akin to a dog breeding with a cat. Can’t physically happen.

About Casey: He grew up in the Western District of Victoria and holds a Diploma in Applied Science (Natural Resource Management). He has worked with Parks Victoria and NSW Parks and Wildlife and currently works as a Station Officer with Qld Fire and Rescue and  is a self-employed as a snake catcher at Snake and Critter Catcher”. 

To get in touch call 0491 747 871

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