People urged to be vigilant of snakes, spiders in spring

Perth residents are being warned about snakes as the spring weather gets warmer.
Perth residents are being warned about snakes as the spring weather gets warmer.

ST John Ambulance WA is urging people to be extra vigilant when outdoors as snakes and spiders start to become more active with the warming weather.

St John State Operations Centre general manager Phil Martin said they often recorded a spike in bite call outs each September.

“Traditionally we attend to more cases of snake and spider bites in spring and early summer with 104 people treated for snake bites last financial year and 118 people attended to for spider bites,” he said.

“Australia has around 100 snakes that are venomous and although there are only 12 species whose venom can kill, all snake bites should be treated as potentially life threatening and treated as a medical emergency.

“If you intend to travel or venture out in the great outdoors we would recommend you learn some basic first aid, or at the very least, arm yourself with a first aid kit that includes a first aid guide and items such as pressure bandages.”

He said snake bite symptoms could include difficulty breathing, speaking or swallowing, headaches, impaired vision, nausea and drowsiness and urged people to call 000 immediately after the bite.

“While waiting for paramedics to arrive, keep the patient still and calm, lay them flat and wrap a bandage over the site of the bite, then apply a pressure bandage starting from the fingers or toes and wrap upwards as far as you can go,” he said.

City of Cockburn Environmental Services acting manager Vicky Hartill said it was important for locals to be vigilant around coastal areas, wetlands and bushland.

“In public open spaces, especially those that abut natural areas, and natural bushland/wetland and coastal areas, the City encourages residents to exercise dogs on leashes at all times and stick to paths, trails and walkways,” she said.

“If residents encounter a snake, we encourage them to keep calm and slowly back away to a safe distance and allow the snake to move away, or turn around and go back the way you came.

“If a snake is found on private property, residents can contact the Wildcare Helpline 9474 9055.”

City of Fremantle community safety acting team leader Teigan Reilly said Booyeembara Park and South Beach were two locations were snakes were often sighted and reported.

“If a snake is sighted in a public place people can contact the Community Safety and Rangers team on 1300 360 666 to attend,” she said.

WA schools can access free first aid skills training for snake bite management in term 4.

Call 9334 1259 for more information on the training.

Visit www.cockburn.wa.gov.au/Health-and-Safety/Insects-Reptiles-and-Rodents/Snakes for the City of Cockburn’s Living with Snakes brochure.