By Nasik Swami

Be on the lookout for hungry and angry venomous snakes.

That’s the message from a local snake catcher as the weather starts to warm up in the South East.

David Miles says not only has the snake season landed early, but the reptiles are also hungry in warm spring weather, posing danger to people and dogs.

The South East has reported a rise in snake sightings, with two dogs dying after being bitten in September.

The Australian Reptile Park has also issued an “urgent warning” for people to be on the lookout for venomous snakes, saying a rise in temperatures, coupled with winter rainfall, was the perfect environment for venomous snakes to become more active.

The ARP said snakes tend to “brumate” over the winter, a state like hibernation during which they become less active and often seek out a place to hide until temperatures start to climb again.

“But the heat is enticing snakes to emerge sooner than usual, and snake catchers have reported a significant increase in callouts—a phenomenon rarely seen at this time of year.”

Mr Miles told The News that the hibernation period was approximately four months long, from May to September.

“During this period, snakes find a spot to hide, lower their metabolism, and don’t move about much at all,” he said.

“Snakes will start to move around anywhere from now on as the weather warms up.”

He said if someone sees a snake, you should stand still and let the snake move away.

“Snakes don’t want to be near us, so they try to hide rather than stay around. Snakes will only bite or try to bite if people aggravate them or stir them up.

“Unfortunately, the snakes we get in your area (Naracoorte) are highly venomous.

“In your area, you will get brown snakes (second most toxic venomous land snake in the world) followed by the mainland tiger snake (fifth most toxic venomous land snake in the world), and the lowland copperhead snake (this snake is the 15th most venomous land snake in the world).”

David’s message to the public:

“If someone is bitten by a snake, first aid should be applied straight away. First aid for a snake bite consists of wrapping the bite site with a firm, broad bandage up the limb that has been bitten. The person who has been bitten should lay still on the ground, and an ambulance should be called to take the person to the hospital.

“In Australia, we class all snake bites and spider bites as potentially fatal, however, if correct first aid is applied, then the person should not die.

“The person who has been bitten should not run anywhere and remain still and as calm as possible.”

The ARP said it was important for all Australians to know that snakes do not go out of their way to harm people.

“Snake bites mostly occur when people are trying to catch or kill the snake, so if you don’t do either of those things, there’s a greater chance that you’ll be okay.”

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