BREEDING SEASON: Snake catcher Richie Gilbert is working hard as the warm weather increases snake activity.
BREEDING SEASON: Snake catcher Richie Gilbert is working hard as the warm weather increases snake activity. John Mccutcheon

Slippery snakes are in the mood for love so watch out

A BOOMING breeding season meant a hectic October for Sunshine Coast's 24-hour snake catcher Richie Gilbert, who says the slippery serpents are still on the move.

Speaking in between callouts yesterday, among them a carpet python and a 1.6m eastern brown, Mr Gilbert said the increasing urban sprawl meant more and more humans were coming into contact with snakes.

"October was insane," Mr Gilbert said. "It's slowed down a little in the last couple of days, but I'm probably averaging two to three callouts a day. It's breeding season and they're (snakes) all out looking for mates at the moment."

Mr Gilbert said the slight reduction in encounters over the past few days was due to the prolonged dry period, as snakes took shelter when dehydrated, but he expected any rain would bring them out in abundance yet again.

A Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service spokeswoman said there had been 90 snake bites or suspected snake bites treated across the region since January 1, with 54 in Nambour, 10 in Caloundra and 26 in Gympie.

The total figure of 90 was identical to the same period last year, however, the breakdowns differed slightly.

Mr Gilbert said increased development on the Coast meant homes were encroaching further on snakes' environments, meaning we were bound to come across them more often.

"With new homes comes pets, comes rats and mice, and that brings the snakes in," Mr Gilbert said.

"What's alarming for me is the number of people that comment on my Facebook page saying that if a snake comes into their yard they'll kill it... that's just stupidity.

"Ninety per cent of all snake bites come from someone trying to catch or kill the snake."

Mr Gilbert said the best approach for residents was to treat every snake they encountered as venomous, and call in an expert handler to identify and remove them.

"I get called to 10 'brown snakes' every day... and nine out of 10 times it's some sort of non-venomous or mildly venomous snake," he said.

Mr Gilbert said if someone had a snake problem they could contact him on 0409536000.



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