Thick and fast: Snakes hitting Gympie region

THE two most crucial pieces of advice Gympie snake catcher Julie Smith can give at the height of snake season are: never guess a snake's identification and get up to date with first aid.

The wildlife carer who runs Accounting for Fauna said the unseasonably hot weather that cut winter short meant snake season started early in Gympie this year, with high activity in the region.

Even though she is not the only Gympie snake catcher, Ms Smith is getting three to four phone calls a day about snake removal in the region, she said.

"We've had an influx of rodents that are bringing the browns in, and of a significant size," she said.

"Five to six foot has been common in the Gympie region."

 

SNAKES ALIVE: Snake catcher Julie Smith rescued this red-bellied black snake from underneath a Gympie washing machine last week.
SNAKES ALIVE: Snake catcher Julie Smith rescued this red-bellied black snake from underneath a Gympie washing machine last week. Contributed

Coastal taipans, previously a rare sight in the Gympie region, have also made themselves at home, with 12 call outs for the highly-venomous snake since August this year, she said.

With snake activity at an all time high, Ms Smith said it was important to know what to do if you encounter one.

She said forget trying to self-identify the snake but concentrate on its safe removal by a professional.

"Snakes come in every different colour - eastern browns come in every colour from tan to black with juvenile browns having a similar pattern to tree snakes and pythons," she said.

 

Gympie's Julie Smith of Accounting for Fauna handling a reptile.
Gympie's Julie Smith of Accounting for Fauna handling a reptile. Contributed

Ms Smith said if people react calmly when they come across a snake there is more likely to be a better outcome:

"80 per cent of bites occur when people do things they are not qualified to do," the snake catcher said.

"The more jumpy you actually get with a snake the worse they get."

While they are not the world's most loved creature, Ms Smith, who has had 12 years of experience handling them, believes snakes play an important part in the eco-system by controlling introduced species such as cane toads and rodents.

"Everyone should be accountable for our lovely wildlife," the dedicated wildlife carer said.

"I do what I do 100% for the animals."

GYMPIE REGION SNAKES:

  • Red-bellied black: third most likely to strike in Australia,
  • Eastern brown: second most venomous in the world, can be sent unconscious within 15 minutes of getting bitten
  • Coastal taipan: third most venomous in Australia, can be aggressive
  • Python: common all through the year in region, can latch on and don't let go

Accounting for Fauna: 0467 200 405

Gympie Times


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