Killing snakes is a risky business

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barry goldsmith snakes 08-11-2012 by yanni 03PEOPLE trying to kill snakes are risking injury, says a Mornington Peninsula professional snake catcher.

Barry Goldsmith of Mornington-based Snakes and Wildlife Control has been called out to eight properties in recent weeks where homeowners have killed or attempted to kill a snake using a variety of implements.

Four snakes that had been mortally wounded had to be euthanised.

Trying to kill a snake was far riskier than leaving it, he said.

Snakes are on the move following recent warmer weather with Mr Goldsmith and other snake catchers in the region coming into the busy time of the year.

“People need to be aware snakes are moving around looking for food and water; if you see a snake in your garden, leave it alone and you won’t have a problem,” Mr Goldsmith said.

“Snakes are inoffensive unless they are provoked.”

Mr Goldsmith has been rescuing snakes throughout the southeast and on the peninsula since September.

There have been callouts at Portsea, Rosebud, Balnarring, Hastings, Mt Eliza and several in Cranbourne.

He had to “rescue” a tiger snake at a Portsea barbecue where “bikini-clad women and men in shorts” had run into a house.

He saved a young couple in Mt Eliza who had a snake in their front yard. When Mr Goldsmith arrived and checked the interloper, the couple was embarrassed to find out they had been frightened by a rubber snake that someone had thrown over the fence.

“Admittedly, it was a very good replica,” Mr Goldsmith said.

At Cranbourne, he “saved” a migrant family that had been bailed up by a blue-tongue lizard.

“They didn’t know blue-tongues were not poisonous. If they are threatened or cornered, they open their mouths wide and stick out their tongue to frighten off predators. They look scary but will not bite unless they are attacked.”

The lizards are prized by gardeners as they eat snails, caterpillars and other insects.

At Boneo, he rescued a snake caught up in a fruit tree net in a backyard.

“It was nearly dead, but has made a full recovery.”

Mr Goldsmith said many snakes had been displaced in the past two years by the building of Peninsula Link freeway between Carrum Downs and Mt Martha.

The bulk of callouts had been to properties near the freeway, he said.

There is also a warning about pets and snakes.

“Snakes don’t attack dogs; dogs attack snakes,” he said.

He had been called to five dog versus snake incidents in recent weeks.

Veterinarians say dogs should be kept on a leash in dunes, long grass, bushland, and beside creeks.

Snake bites are difficult to detect on dogs and cats.

The most immediate reactions to a bite are trembling, rapid breathing, vomiting, defecation and collapse. After some of these signs, eye pupils may dilate (get bigger) and the animal’s gait will become clumsy as the legs become progressively weaker.

If the dose of venom is large enough, complete paralysis will occur, followed by death if untreated with anti-venom.

If treated immediately, pets have a good chance of survival and recovery. The best course of action is to keep your pet as calm and still as possible and get them to a vet.

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