RECENT snake sightings in strange spots have sparked some advice for the region’s residents.
On Wednesday, a python was removed from the grounds of Tamworth city pool; a brown snake had “strolled” Gunnedah’s main street the previous day.
A snake handler, firefighters and council staff in Tamworth, and residents of both towns, had also reported several recent encounters.
What to do if you spot a snake depends on where it is, according to Fire & Rescue NSW zone superintendent Tom Cooper.
“If it’s not threatening anyone and it’s in its natural habitat, the best thing to do is tell everyone to get out of there,” he said.
If a snake is in a built area – such as a backyard, house or school – the best bet is to call Triple 0, ask for the firies and keep an eye on the reptile.
If it’s in a room of the house, close the door and use a rolled towel to block the gap underneath.
Superintendent Cooper said many staff were trained snake handlers, reflecting the organisation’s motto: Prepared for anything.
If a snake is injured or the firies can’t get there, the call to make is 13 000 WIRES or 1300 094 737.
The firie who handled the pool python said he and his east Tamworth station colleagues had been called to more than half a dozen snake sightings this warm season.
“We’ve caught four, lost two [and] some have been no contest: the ones that have been long gone by the time we got there,” Aaron Hall said.
The native snake species are protected by law.
WIRES reptile handler Jacob McGoldrick, who took custody of the pool intruder, said people without experience shouldn’t try to move or kill a snake, “because that’s when most people get bit”.
“The best thing people can do is just learn about them: they’re not actually scary once you understand them and deal with them,” he said.
“They’re really just like any other animal, you just need to respect what they can do.”
WIRES – the NSW Wildlife Information Rescue & Education Service – said it was important to remember that “snakes are shy, reclusive animals and will avoid confrontation with humans at all costs, preferring to flee if given the opportunity”.
“Snakes have no vested interest in attacking humans, and any bite occurrences are almost exclusively a defensive response to a perceived threat.
“Given this fact, it is reasonable to assume that, if left alone, the risk posed by any Australian snake would be negligible.”
WIRES said most snakes seen in backyards were just moving through on their hunt for food.
In the field
A Tamworth Regional Council spokeswoman said there had been “a lot of staff sightings” while workers were out in the field.
“We have been doing quite a lot of additional internal training for our staff who work outside,” she said.