Friday, October 31, 2014

Snake season slithers in - What to do if a snake is on your property

Photo credit: Australia Zoo

As the weather warms up, RSPCA NSW is already receiving dozens of calls each week relating to snake sightings in residential areas.

Already RSPCA NSW has received over 150 calls since the start of spring, including three reports of beheaded animals.

“Snakes play a very important role in the Australian environment and are protected under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974. You should not attempt to harm or remove them. Offenders can be hit with an $11,000 fine and/or six months in jail, and the maximum penalty for killing a protected reptile is $22,000 and/or 2 years in jail,” said Chief Inspector David OShannessy.

Out of the 150 calls received by RSPCA NSW so far, more than 15 people have mistaken a Blue Tongue lizard for snake. Blue Tongues can hiss as a defence mechanism and are more likely to wander on to people’s porches and generally be more visible.

“A standard question we now ask for snake sightings is ‘does it have legs?’. We usually get laughed at, but sometimes the answer is ‘yes’ and we can save wildlife rescue groups a lot of time,” said RSPCA NSW Contact Centre Manager Kylie Scott.

Generally snakes are shy, reclusive animals and will avoid confrontation with humans at all costs, preferring to flee if given the opportunity.

“If it does not move on in a few hours contact WIRES for advice. If you have found an injured snake report it to either the RSPCA or WIRES,” Mr OShannessy concluded.

Best Advice – Keep your lawn short and yard tidy to reduce the likelihood of snakes.

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