Perth: learn how to stay safe around snakes

Marcus Cosentino with a dugite. Picture: Andrew Ritchie          d444015
Marcus Cosentino with a dugite. Picture: Andrew Ritchie         d444015

SNAKES are starting to emerge as summer approaches, andmany people would not know what to do if they stumbled across one, according to snake wrangler Marcus Cosentino.

The Slithers and Slides Reptile Rescue director said one of the biggest challenges of his job was educating the public.

“The focus is on impressing to kids and parents that snakes aren’t out to get us, they won’t chase you if you see one, the majority of them will slither, slide and hide before you even know they’re there,” Mr Cosentino said.

“I have never come across an aggressive snake, only defensive.”

The Stirling resident said another common misconception was that snakes had family or lived in groups.

“If someone sees a baby dugite or tiger snake they’ll call and ask me to come and have a look for the mother,” he said.

“Venomous snakes don’t have family ties; once the baby is laid, they all go their separate ways.”

In the Perth region, the two most common venomous snakes are dugites and tiger snakes.

“Tiger snakes are a wetlands species, so unless you live around wetlands you are unlikely to come across them,” Mr Cosentino said.

“Dugites are a lot more wide-roaming, so you can come across them in back yards and bushland, but they’re very shy, they’ll usually see a person and bolt.

“Tiger snakes get their bad reputation for attacking because if you get too close they will respond and bite.”

Mr Cosentino said the worst thing to do if you spot a snake is to try to catch or kill it.

“Despite the fact that killing native fauna can carry a fine of up to $10,000, most snake bites happen when people try to kill a snake,” he said.

“The best thing to do is stay a safe distance away where you can still keep an eye on the snake.

“Avoid as much movement as possible so you don’t scare the snake and make it want to run and hide where you can no longer see it.

“Call a professional snake catcher immediately.”

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