'Desperate' snakes more underfoot & in your face
IF THE snakes seem more "in your face” or "in your bedroom” this summer, you are not imagining it.
Wildlife Management Service owner/operator William Pledger said the extreme heat of the past few months in the Gympie region had made snakes more "desperate” than usual and they were turning up in places they normally avoided.
Getting cool and accessing water had become their top priorities, whether or not there was a human standing in the way, Mr Pledger said.
While the number of call-outs are about the same this season - a "season” being from October to April - the nature of the call-outs has changed.
"Each snake catcher has about 200 call-outs a season,” Mr Pledger said.
"At the start of this summer it was getting really busy but the thing with snakes is they are a lot like us - they don't like the hot weather. They need cool weather too, to regulate their body temperature.
"Once it gets over 32 degrees it's too hot for the snakes to come out.
"They are heading underground to cool down, in sheds, under houses.
"Also, they are looking for water more than normal. They are more active in the early mornings and evenings as they look to rehydrate.”
The snakes are more daring, especially brown snakes and red bellied blacks, which have slimmer bodies and therefore heat up faster and dehydrate.
"The calls I am getting are from people sitting out on their verandas having a coffee in the morning or a beer after work and the snake is just ignoring that they are there and heading for the water source, whether that be the dogs' water bowls or bird bath.”
Mr Pledger said their behaviour flew in the face of the advice he normally gave to people, which was to just stand still and the snake would go away.
"(This summer) the snakes are crawling past people and brushing up against them on their way to water.
"They are more desperate for water and hungrier than normal because their food is more scarce because of the heat.
"I had one lady (just before Christmas) went to get something out of her fridge and a snake popped out from underneath and lifted its head up like it was having a look too,” Mr Pledger said.
"A couple of snakes have turned up in car wheel arches. I had one person ring me, I went out to their place and we could not find the snake anywhere.
"The woman drove into town (a couple of kilometres) and when she pulled up the snake crawled out from under the car.”
It had hitched a ride on the chassis.
And where have the most snake sightings been this summer? The Southside, though it changes every year.
Last year it was Veteran, and the year before that Neusavale and the southern parts of the region.