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Thread: Living with snakes

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2010
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    Living with snakes

    From Westprint Friday.

    Peter Mirtschin, Managing Director, Ophiobioscience Pty Ltd
    Spring is the time for snakes to become active again, and for thinking about how to live with them.
    The benefits of snakes
    Snakes are very efficient rodent catchers, and keep the rodent population, and our pesticide use, down. Snakes help keep a predatorĖprey balance. They form part of the natural biodiversity in our local environment.
    The risks of snakes
    Anecdotal evidence indicates that we probably increase risks to ourselves by removing or killing snakes. New snakes move in. They take a while to adapt to us and our movements, and are far more likely to bite if we inadvertently approach them. Formal research has not been conducted to prove this is the case.
    The Common Brown Snake Pseudonaja textilis is an efficient hunter of rodents accounting for a significant proportion of their total cull. Photo: Peter Mirtschin
    The danger real or imagined.
    The main thing to know is that snake bite is rare, and death is even rarer. A little knowledge and a lot of awareness are your main defences against snake bite:

    • Donít approach or handle or disturb snakes. Leave them alone
    • Do not place any part of your body in any area where visibility is poor
    • Use a torch or other lighting when moving around at night
    • When you see a snake, keep movements slow, never sudden
    • If snakes have to be removed, call a snake catcher
    • Monitor young children and pets
    • Keep pets in snake-proof enclosures when they are unattended, and avoid the veterinary bills

    Removing snakes
    Itís your decision whether or not to remove snakes. In certain workplaces, houses, bird aviaries or some sheds, snakes do need to be removed. However, in poultry pens they control rodents without worrying the chickens or eating their eggs. They can live in harmony with most people in many situations. More and more people are doing this, and enjoying and benefitting from the presence of snakes.
    If you do decide to remove snakes, use snake catchers unless you have adequate training. Snake catchers are formally trained to safely catch snakes and remove them from areas where they are not wanted.
    Snakes and our environment
    Snakes are part of a viable of our environment and its diverse animal life. Forcing them into extinction will only add to the growing list of lost species. They are fascinating creatures and simply want a place to live their lives.
    Top 5 things you need to do if you get bitten by a snake
    All Australians need to know what to do if bitten by a snake. Snakes usually bite defensively, rather than actively attacking humans and most bites occur when people try to remove snakes from their own yards and gardens.
    Information from Department of health.
    1. Call an ambulance immediately

    You should treat any snake bite as an emergency, regardless of whether you think the snake was venomous or not. Many snakes look similar, and if you wait to see if you feel symptoms of venom poisoning, it might be too late by the time you get help.
    What to do
    You need to stay as still as possible, so rather than running for a phone, use a mobile phone or have someone else go and call for help. Call Triple Zero (000) and ask for an ambulance, or use the Emergency+ app to call an ambulance. This app uses GPS functionality on mobile phones to help the emergency services know exactly where you are.
    2. Donít panic and donít move

    While itís easier said than done, staying calm and still after a snake bite can help slow down the spread of venom in your body. If youíve been bitten by a poisonous snake, not moving might save your life.
    Itís a myth that snake venom gets straight into your blood stream after a bite. Instead, it moves through your lymphatic system. Lymph is a fluid in your body that contains white blood cells. Unlike blood, which is pumped around your body continuously, your lymph moves when you move your limbs. If you can stay still and calm, you can prevent the venom in your lymph traveling further into your body.
    What to do
    If youíre sure the snake has moved away after biting you and youíre not in danger of being bitten again, remain where you are, rather than walking to get help. If youíre with other people, they shouldnít move you at all, but start administering first aid where you are.
    Take long, deep breaths to help calm yourself down. Remember that the odds are in your favour: itís rare for people to die after being bitten by a snake, especially if they follow first aid steps.
    3. Leave the snake alone

    Donít try to identify, catch, injure or kill the snake Ė youíre likely to come off second best. At the hospital, staff have access to a range of tests that can help them determine the likely snake which you have been bitten by, enabling them to give you the most appropriate treatment.
    4. Apply a pressure immobilisation bandage and splint

    Most snake bites occur on a limb, so legs, feet, arms and hands are most commonly affected. If youíve been bitten on a limb, applying a pressure immobilisation bandage can stop the venom moving through your lymphatic system.
    What to do
    If youíve got a pad or even a piece of plastic like cling wrap, put it over the bite site to either soak up or protect the venom for later testing.
    Apply a pressure immobilisation bandage by following the steps below:

    • use an elasticised roller bandage that is 10-15cm wide
    • roll bandage over the bite site
    • apply a second elasticised roller bandage, starting just above the fingers or toes and moving upwards on the bitten limb as far as the bandage will reach
    • apply the bandage as tightly as possible to the limb
    • if you donít have a bandage handy, any stretchy material will do (torn up t-shirts, stockings or other fabric can be used as a bandage)

    Once the bandage is on, mark the bite site on the bandage with a pen or other substance that will leave a mark Ė if youíve got nothing else on you, putting a little mud or dirt on the bandage will work. Then, splint the limb to keep it still. Any straight object will do Ė a stick, rolled up newspaper or even firmly rolled up clothes or tarps can all work. Fix the splint in place by securing it to the limb with bandages or other material.
    If youíve been bitten on your head, neck or torso, you donít need to put on a pressure immobilisation bandage.
    Thereís no substitute for learning first aid in-person, so if itís been awhile since you last did a course, or youíve never done one, make it a priority to book in.
    There are a lot of old methods of treating snake bites that are now known to cause more harm than good.
    Washing the snake bite site can wash off venom that the hospital staff may be able to use to identify the type of snake that bit you.
    Do not suck or cut the bite area.
    Do not apply a tourniquet to the limb Ė this can be dangerous.
    Iím pretty sure the dinosaurs died out when they stopped gathering food and started having meetings to discuss gathering food

    A bookshop is one of the only pieces of evidence we have that people are still thinking

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Theyíre certainly out and about Living with snakes
    Cheers
    Tombie

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  3. #3
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    Jan 2017
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    Geraldton WA
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    We have a few carpet snakes living as permanent "Visitors" here and I have NO problems with them being around the place although the Missus still freaks out when she comes across one.
    They have never bitten me even when I have had to pick them up and take them outside when they occasionally "Trespass" inside the house.
    I have an idea that these pythons are the reason why in the last 15 years we have only ever come across a single poisonous snake around the house and that was a really big bugger that I doubt that my pythons would have been able to handle.
    You only get one shot at life, Aim well

    2004 D2 "S" V8 auto, with a few Mods
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2010
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    We get red bellied black snakes from the 'wetlands' [ trendy name for swamp]at the back, sometimes. Haven't seen any for a while, plenty of kookaburras though, perhaps one brings the other. Also have a resident tree snake, which has the run of the yard. Along with the ring tail possum, which lives in the tree at the front. Must be mating time again, judging from the noises last night. She brings her joey's on to the roof early in the morning to eat the mandarins that have fallen off the tree that I throw at the pigeons on the roof. My neighbour, the truckie, [ gone now] used to shoot the pigeons with an air rifle , that kept them on their toes. I'm forever grateful he didn't have a 303.
    Iím pretty sure the dinosaurs died out when they stopped gathering food and started having meetings to discuss gathering food

    A bookshop is one of the only pieces of evidence we have that people are still thinking

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    Location
    Whyalla, South Australia
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    Red bellies are great - keep the Browns away.
    The RBBs are a more amicable Snake.
    Cheers
    Tombie

    D4 MY11 - Stormy

    D90 MY15 - Ike
    D2 TD5

    Tesla Cybertruck Tri-Motor AWD On order...due 2021
    Gone - D1 AZZKIKR - 5.0L Supercharged with the lot
    Gone - Tombraider Defender - Lara
    Two wheels
    2007 Suzuki M109R LE
    2020 Suzuki Katana

  6. #6
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    Jul 2012
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    Tecoma Vic
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    as for snakes not eating chicken eggs, tell that to an old mate in Tumut. snake goes into chicken coup via chicken wire mesh, snake tries to exit after eating chicken egg and can't as his body is too wide to exist through mesh, snake got stuck.


  7. #7
    Join Date
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    Logan
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    Was a big python outside the chook shed the other night. Fortunately it was closed and is now snake-proof. He was gone in the morning. Lovely thing.

  8. #8
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    Last winter, no rats at our place, which is strange.
    Sure enough, a month or so ago, we spotted a medium sized carpet snake beside our house, near where we always catch rats,hopefull he sticks around.
    There are a few baby bush turkeys around as well ATM,i bet it would eat them.

    Red Bellies often rear up and have a bit of a look if disturbed, then they generally choof off,as do Browns.Red Belly's generally like to be around water, swamps,creeks,etc.

    We had quite a large small eyed snake here a few months ago,very similar to a Red Belly,and very, very quick.It was under a box,when I lifted the box up, it shot off like lightning into our log pile.

    SWMBO was standing ready to take a pic of it, no hope
    Paul

    Discoless for the first time in 21yrs

    '56 S1,been in the family since...'56

  9. #9
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    Jan 2017
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    Geraldton WA
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    99.99% of the time if you leave the snakes alone and don't get threatening or aggressive towards them they are harmless most of the time.
    You only get one shot at life, Aim well

    2004 D2 "S" V8 auto, with a few Mods
    2007 79 Series Landcruiser V8 Ute, With a few Mods.
    4.6m Quintrex boat
    20' Jayco Expanda caravan

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2010
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    Quote Originally Posted by trout1105 View Post
    99.99% of the time if you leave the snakes alone and don't get threatening or aggressive towards them they are harmless most of the time.
    Yep .Darwin 1980, Fogg dam. Took my 2nd son on my shoulders to check out some parrots, luckily habit meant I was checking the path ahead. Almost stepped on what I identified as a Taipan , I froze midstep, crapped myself. Snake had flattened out and was tensed in such a way as to strike, I slowly , very slowly , backed off. Took a few green cans to settle my nerves.
    Iím pretty sure the dinosaurs died out when they stopped gathering food and started having meetings to discuss gathering food

    A bookshop is one of the only pieces of evidence we have that people are still thinking

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