Snakes alive! and, they're hungry, too

DARREN COOK saw three brown snakes in half an hour while bushwalking near Byron Bay this week.

“I'm used to seeing a couple of snakes a week, but I'm seeing one every two or three days this year,” Mr Cook said.

“I've never seen so many around so early in the season, and some of them are quite big.”

Mr Cook has been a regular walker on the North Coast for four years. When The Northern Star spoke with him he was visiting his friend, George the Snakeman.

On one day alone this week George received 11 calls to remove snakes, eight of them the dangerous brown species. Yesterday he had five calls, all for browns.

On Wednesday, Shelly Beach lifeguard Ruben Roxburgh was herding brown snakes away from the beach's pathways and ramps. Again yesterday there were reports of the reptiles at Shelly Beach, and at Yamba.

Neither the Snakeman nor Mr Cook could explain the presence of so many snakes, including red-bellied black and carpet snakes.

However, one reason may be the good season for rats and mice, George said.

“Brown snakes are like skinheads on a bad acid trip. And that's when they're in a good mood,” he said.

“They come out of hibernation with a severe case of the munchies.

“There's plenty of food around for them this year. It's not that they are especially aggressive - all they want to do is eat and mate.

His advice? “Don't get in their way.”

George recommends tidying up the backyard and keeping your pet's water bowl away from the house.

  • Don't kill snakes! Most bites happen when someone has interfered with a snake.
  • Wear strong shoes and long, loose pants when bushwalking.
  • Never put your hands where you can't see: in hollow logs, long grass or around rocks.
  • Use a torch if walking around after dark on a warm evening.
  • Don't 'invite' snakes into your house! Keep doors shut and ensure insect screens have no holes.

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