Spring is here and with it the warmer weather. Much like a lot of animals this time of year is for breeding, including snakes. Here's some tips and advice on how to manage snakes you might encounter.
Snake is the yard?
- Firstly, don't panic, snakes are normally more afraid of you than you are of them.
- Keep your distance and don't approach it, wait and it will usually move along on its own accord.
- Keep your pets always, put them inside perhaps until its moved on.
- Don't Panic.
- Keep any pets and children away.
- Don't touch it, snake bites more commonly happen when people try to relocate or kill it.
- Contact a professional snake catch catcher, who can give advice on the species, or possibly come and relocate it for you.
- Remove food source to snakes, controlling rodent populations, disposing of rubbish, uncluttering areas, storing feed in rodent proof containers and removing uneaten pet food, helps towards minimizing rodent population.
- Snake proofing chicken enclosures
- Remove, or minimize rock piles or wood piles, and other places snakes can hide in.
- Keeping lawn short, snakes are vulnerable on short grass, and wont travel great distances over it.
If you think your pet has been bitten by a snake you should keep your pet calm & quiet and take it to a vet immediately.
The chances of recovery are greater if your pet is treated early (80%).
Poisonous snakes in Australia include:
Tiger Snake: Usually found in association with waterways. Average length 1 metre. Broad headed. Striped. Light grey to dark green, brown or orange.
Brown: Usually found in dry farming areas. Average length 1.5 metres. Dark brown to putty colour with cream-spotted. Slim and rapid moving.
Copperhead: Average length 1.5 metres. Sluggish and thick set. Yellow brown colour. Head is a rich copper-orange.
Black: Length 2 metres. Glossy black with purple sheen. Pinkish to white belly.
Several factors determine the reaction your pet will have to a snake bite. These include:
The start of summer, when snake become active, their glands are fuller so bites tend to be more severe, also the time since the snake previously bit something factors into your pet's reaction. Common bite sites on pets are limbs and head. Normally, the closer the bite is to the heart the quicker the venom would travel through the body. Dogs are curious and Cats are born hunters, which puts them at risk of snake bites.
- The type of snake (some species aren't as poisonous as others)
- Amount of venom injected.
- The site of the bite.
- The size of your animal.
Symptoms of snake bites are varied depending on size and species.
Common symptoms for snake bites are :
If necessary, first aid can be applied, keep your pet calm & quiet and apply a pressure bandage to the area, a firm bandage over and around the bite site, to help slow the venom spreading to the heart.
- Sudden weakness, collapse.
- Shaking/twitching of muscles.
- Dilated pupils.
- Blood in Urine
- Loss of bladder/bowel control
- Swelling of bite area
- Paralysis in later stages.
DO NOT wash the wound or apply a tourniquet.
Go straight to your vet clinic, ring them on the way if possible to let them know that an emergency is coming.
Best way to keep your pet safe from snake bites is to prepare their environment. Keep grass cut low, clean up rubbish piles, tidy around garden edging, or clear hiding places snake prefer (wood piles, under roofing sheets) Snakes also like to hide out in garden sheds and stock feed rooms, so keep them neat and tidy as well.
If snakes are common in your area, you may consider building a snake proof fence. Its also recommended that if snakes are common in your area, to have the local snake catcher's phone number easily accessible, to relocate them before they bite your pet.
Although we are a country of animal lovers, there is still those that treat animals cruelly.
Animal Cruelty takes different forms, including intentional acts of violence towards animals; psychological harm which can be caused by torment, distress or terror; and neglect such as failure to provide adequate welfare for animals in care.
Generally State and Territory animal welfare legislation describes Animal Cruelty as a act or omission that causes unnecessary or unreasonable harm to a animal.
RSPCA website says most animal welfare Acts will provide examples of cruelty, Including:
- torturing or beating an animal
- confining or transporting an animal in a way that is inappropriate for its welfare
- killing an animal in an inhumane manner
- failing to provide appropriate or adequate food or water for an animal
- failing to provide appropriate treatment for disease or injury
- failing to provide appropriate living conditions.
Breaking the Animal Welfare Legislation is a crime. Serious cases can result in fines in excess 1,000,00 and up to 7 years jail sentence.
Animal Care and Protection Act 2001.
Queensland Animal Welfare Legislation.
If you have witnessed animal cruelty, including neglect or abandonment, you should report it via phone or online form to the RSPCA Inspectorate team in the state or territory it took place.
Queensland: 1300 ANIMAL (1300 264 625) Report online