Heatwave sets snakes on move

TEMPERATURES that nudged the 38 degree mark earlier this week in Gympie also nudged the region's snake population out of hiding.

That's according to snake catcher Steven Keady, who relocates snakes in the Sunshine Coast, the greater Brisbane area, Gympie and as far north as Gladstone.

He said the heatwave had significantly increased snake activity in the region, with many species turning up in homes, sheds and gardens.

With much of his work closer to the Sunshine Coast and Brisbane, Mr Keady said green tree snakes and carpet snakes were his most common call-out in the heat, though the types of snakes on the move were "pretty much widespread". Eastern browns were more prevalent in the Gympie area, he said.

The Department of Environment and Resource Management website warns that the eastern brown is "particularly lively when the weather is extremely hot and is often found around houses and sheds where it searches for prey including rats, mice and lizards".

So what is it that attracts snakes into yards or houses?

Snakes are often drawn to yards and houses when food and shelter are unknowingly provided by the people living there.

Brown snakes and taipans eat rodents and are attracted to garden or farm sheds to hunt rats and mice.

Pythons regularly enter chicken pens and aviaries to prey on the occupants. They are also found in roof cavities hunting for rats and possums.

Brown tree snakes are specialists at invading aviaries, often becoming trapped inside after they have eaten a bird. These snakes can also be found at night hunting for geckos around window sills in the home.

Common tree snakes actively hunt frogs during the day and are often seen around the house and garden where frogs occur.

Houses and yards can also be used by snakes for shelter. Carpet pythons are regularly found curled up in ceilings, enjoying the security and warmth. A variety of snake species is often encountered in places such as timber piles and under sheets of corrugated iron.

You can take measures to reduce the attractiveness of your yard or house to snakes.

If you have a rock wall or other structure that has the potential to house frogs and rats, and in turn attract snakes, discourage these reptiles by blocking holes.

Avoid creating a habitat for snakes by keeping a tidy, well-maintained yard and shed.

Actively discourage rats and mice, and snake-proof your aviaries and poultry pens.

You can snake-proof your house by ensuring the yard is tidy, with shrubs and gardens kept away from the house.

Snakes will shelter in houses, under shrubs and in timber stacks to avoid the hottest parts of the day.

It is also important to ensure that food scraps are disposed of properly to discourage rats and mice.

Blocking off as many potential access points as possible can significantly reduce the chance of snakes entering your house.

Install screens on doors and windows. Block any holes around the house including those between the roof and ceiling.

It is important that you never try to kill a snake if it enters your house.

Not only is it illegal to kill a native animal, but it places you at a higher risk of being bitten if you force the snake to defend itself.

Close the internal doors in the house and open the external doors and windows.

Block the gaps underneath internal doors with rolled up towels. Place chairs and boxes under windows to make it easier for snakes to climb out. Keep everyone well clear of the snake.

Snakes will shelter in houses, under shrubs and in timber stacks to avoid the hottest parts of the day.

Gympie Times

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