With the warmer Spring weather almost upon us and snakes emerging from their hibernation, the ACT Government is encouraging Canberrans to be mindful in parks and reserves around the ACT.
“Each year our rangers receive numerous calls concerning snake sightings in the urban areas in and around Canberra. If you do come across a snake the best approach is not to catch or kill them, as harassing the reptile may cause the animal to try and defend itself by striking,” said David Dobroszczyk, Acting Manager, Canberra South District, ACT Parks and Conservation.
“It is also a timely reminder that snakes are a protected species and killing or harming them is an offence under the Nature Conservation Act.”
“Our wildlife rangers receive extensive snake handling training and their advice is to leave snakes alone. Snakes are usually much more frightened of people than we are of them.”
Mr Dobroszczyk said that snakes are most active from October to March and may enter gardens for short periods in search of food and water.
“Residents shouldn’t be alarmed as snakes do not normally take up residence in suburban yards because of the lack of shelter and their fear of human activity.
“Ways to discourage snakes from entering your garden include keeping lawns and gardens well-maintained, ensuring pet food and water bowls are not accessible, and keeping compost heaps above the ground to reduce mouse populations (a food source for snakes).
“Also ensure your garden sheds/garages are also cleaned out regularly with materials lifted off the floor to reduce available shelter for snakes. When going for a bushwalk, people should be alert, wear enclosed shoes and avoid walking through long grass. If people encounter a snake they should move away and let it go on its way.
“Eight snake species are known to inhabit the ACT, although only a few of these are likely to be found in suburban gardens, with the Eastern Brown Snake being seen most frequently. The Red-bellied Black Snake is also relatively common, with the Tiger Snake and Copperhead seen only occasionally,” said Mr Dobroszczyk.