WARMER weather is seeing snakes on the move in the region.

Cycling a section of the Great Southern Rail Trail yesterday afternoon, Sentinel-Times journalist Tracey Matthies said her group encountered two Red-bellied Black snakes.

“Both were a good size and very active out on the track,” Tracey said.

“With today being even warmer, there will be more people and probably more snakes about so keep your eyes open and stay safe,” Tracey said today (Saturday, October 3).

Four species – the Red-bellied Black snake, Eastern Brown, Tiger and Lowland Copperheads – are commonly found in Gippsland, but it is rare for them to bite people.

“Most snake bites occur when people try to capture or kill a snake,” Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) senior wildlife management officer, Lachlan Clarke, said.

“Snakes can be known to bite animals, such as dogs, if they feel threatened. If your dog or cat encounters a snake, the best course of action is to remove your pet from the area or tie it up while the snake passes and if you suspect your pet has been bitten, take it to a vet immediately.”

Snakes are generally very shy and prefer to keep away from people.

And usually, when a snake is found in a backyard, it’s simply moving through to its habitat.

If you live in an area with snakes, remember:

  • When left alone, snakes present little or no danger to people.
  • If you see a snake, keep calm and move yourself and anyone with you (including pets) away from the area.
  • Don’t attempt to capture or harm snakes. Instead call DELWP on 136 186 for further advice.
  • Maintain lawns and clean up around your house, as snakes are attracted to shelter such as piles of rocks and timber, sheets of metal, and building materials.
  • Undertake first aid training and ensure your first aid kit contains several compression bandages, and if someone is bitten, call 000 immediately.

Snakes are protected under the Wildlife Act 1975 and it is illegal to capture, harm, or kill them. Reports of people wilfully destroying protected wildlife will be investigated accordingly.