Slithery reptiles are on the move

SLITHERY REPTILE: Unwanted visits from snakes can be prevented. Photo: Tony Morrison
SLITHERY REPTILE: Unwanted visits from snakes can be prevented. Photo: Tony Morrison

Australia is known for its dangerous fauna, and aside from the humble redback spider, it’s our snakes that top the deadly list.

So it goes without saying that being prepared for an encounter with our slithery friends is not only important — it’s a matter of life and death.

Mount Isa Snake Catcher Gavin Lawrence has been catching reptiles for seven years.

He said we have a high percentage of venomous snakes out here.

“Usually we receive one or two calls a week but this week we’ve received seven.”

There are certain areas which seem to be more prone to snakes and they are Pamela Street, Fourth Ave, and Healy.

“Recently we have caught Death Adders and Eastern Browns so remember to never put yourself in harm’s way, call a snake catcher,” he said.

Snakes laze around during the colder months or during rain but as soon as it heats up they start to move around.

The main thing I say is always assume the snake is dangerous but keep an eye on it as they can hide in the most inconspicuous places.

Snake Catcher Gavin Lawrence

“It’s important to take protective measures if you stumble upon one, back away and from a safe distance, if possible, take a photo and send it to the snake catcher.

“There’s no hard-and-fast rule to distinguish a dangerous snake from a harmless one,” Mr Lawrence said. 

So the general rule of thumb is don’t be a hero and attempt to catch the snake yourself because chances are you’ll end up provoking it, miscalculating the identification of the snake or getting bitten.

Once the reptile is secured by the snake catcher, the the dangerous ones are released a long distance out of town and the non-venomous ones are released near local waterholes.

There are certain areas which seem to be more prone to snakes and they are pamela St, Fourth Ave, and Healy.

Snake Catcher Gavin Lawrence

“We also get a lot of children’s pythons and black pythons and once we release them we have a duty of care to report back to the Department of Environment and Heritage.

It’s important to note, snakes are protected under the Nature Conservation Act 1992 and it is an offence to kill or injure them so being prepared is the key.

There are ways of snake-proofing your house by keeping screen doors and windows closed as well as blocking any entry points that could allow entrance by a slithery guest.

Store any pet food in an airtight container and keep compost in closed bins to prevent attracting rodents that will draw the snakes in.

Maintain your lawn because snakes are generally shy and like to stay hidden so keep the grass short, and garden beds away from the house. 

Pieces of timber, iron sheets, or grass-clippings are great places where snakes love to crawl and hide under.

Mr Lawrenson said store items in your shed on shelves or in storage containers and remove any unwanted gear to the dump because your pets could also be in danger.”

We have three snake catchers in Mount Isa – Gavin Lawrence 0428 192 985, Rick Leeman 0457 155 250, and Mark Johnston 0447 152 915.