The state government has warned that residents who intentionally kill snakes will be investigated.

The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) has received a number of reports this spring of people killing snakes that posed no threat to their safety.

Department resource protection manager Emily Davies said snakes played an important role in the ecosystem and it was illegal to capture, harm or kill them.

“Reports of people wilfully destroying protected wildlife will be investigated accordingly,” she said.

“Most snake bites are received by people who try to capture or kill a snake.

“Snakes usually prefer to retreat when encountered, but can become defensive if threatened.

“Being aware that snakes may be around and being informed about how to react to them are the most important aspects of managing snakes.”

Snakes are protected under the Wildlife Act 1975.

Ms Davies said residents should understand that snakes presented little or no danger to people when left alone.

She recommended that house owners maintain lawns and clean up properties, as snakes were attracted to shelter such as piles of rocks and timber, sheets of metal and building materials.