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  • Ellis Gelios

Murraylands snake catcher on what to do when bitten if you're alone amid rise in snake sightings

A spate of warm weather has resulted in a large number of eastern brown snake sightings across many regional and remote areas in Australia throughout the past couple of months.

Pictured: David Dique. Photo credit: Murraylands Snake Catcher Facebook page

Flow's Morning Show host, Wayne Phillips, recently provided his own accounts of encountering eastern brown snakes on three occasions over the past three weeks at Flow FM broadcast sites.

Last month, Mildura-based snake catcher Terry Carstens appeared on the Country Viewpoint to issue a warning for listeners in the area about leaving loose rubbish and food scraps around properties, which attract mice - a staple of the eastern browns' diet.

With drier conditions forecasted for the upcoming summer, Murraylands snake catcher, David Dique, appeared on the program this week to offer his views on the current conditions regarding the danger of snakes appearing in public areas.

Dique told listeners that in his view, there is no larger number of snakes about than normal and that the uptick in sightings was attributable to a combination of factors such as the weather, a larger number of rodents in residential areas and last year's flooding events in Murray River towns.

"As soon as you get a warm day, the snakes are going to come out and try and make the most of that with the mice, so consequently, there's probably been more sightings of snakes," Dique said.

"The other thing is where the river was flooded last December, where the water has gone down now, snakes are sort of trying to re-establish their territory and that sort of thing, so yeah, probably more sightings.

"I wouldn't say there's any more snakes, we've just seen more of them around."

Dique also offered listeners crucial advice in relation to the steps one should take if they are ever under the threat of enduring a snake bite when they are unaccompanied in an isolated area.

"First and foremost, if anyone is living out rural and in an isolated place, I would make sure they were familiar as to what to do with a snake bite, you can get snake bite bandages in about five or six dollars each," Dique said.

"Now, if you encounter a snake outside in your garden or whatever, my advice would just be leave the creature alone, If it's not opposing a threat to anyone, just leave it alone, it will pass through.

"My advice would be to clean up the garden, get your snake bite kit organized and get familiar with what to do, keep your garden clean and tidy, keep your grass short. If you see a snake in there, just leave it alone, it will pass through.

"If the snake is actually inside a house, don't mess around with it, close the door to the room it's in, preferably wedge something like a towel under the door, call a licensed, and I emphasize a licensed snake catcher, or the Department of Wildlife."

Dique outlined the immediate consequences of being bitten by an eastern brown snake, particularly if the bite comes about unnecessarily, due to individuals opting to manhandle snakes without having the qualifications or skillsets to do so.

"Unless you are trained to work with venomous snakes and know a little bit about them, please leave them alone because it's a recipe for a bite," Dique said.

"Bearing in mind the Eastern Brown is the second most toxic land snake in the world, it's not a good idea, I mean, they've got two elements there, one is a neurotoxin which attacks your nervous system, the other is a hemotoxin which attacks your blood, it dissolves your red blood cells and also capillary lining, so you then bleed out internally."


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