What’s your connection with Brimbank?
I have been catching and safely relocating venomous snakes away from homes and workplaces for a decade now.
What do you like best about the area and what do you think could be done to improve it?
What I like is that there is so much green space and creeks to enjoy. However, one of the major problems I believe that the municipality faces is that traffic issues need to be addressed.
You have a job many would call dangerous – have you had many close calls?
You could probably say all are close calls due to the nature of the job, it’s all about controlling those risks and having a plan B in case you get bitten. I don’t fear getting bitten, it’s part of the job and the statistics aren’t really on my side. I literally handle hundreds of snakes every year. Unfortunately, I have been bitten once. I came across the biggest tiger snake I’ve ever seen in my life out in Kurunjang. I took my eye off it for a split second and received a ‘dry bite’ meaning no venom was injected. This was over six years ago when I was new to the job and I’ve learned from the experience.
What’s the most memorable job you’ve been called out to in Brimbank?
I attended one call in the old estate near the overpass on the Ballarat Freeway just past Cairnlea. Once I got there the man who made the call showed me a photo of a carpet python which was at least 12 feet. I never found him though. Who knew something that big could vanish.
What’s the most common reptile you deal with within Brimbank?
The most common would have to be the tiger snake. Tiger snakes hang out around waterways feeding off their favourite food source, the frog. Brimbank is basically just one giant maze of waterways, which is why we love living here, but it’s also attractive to reptiles.
How well prepared have residents been when it comes to snake sightings and what advice would you give should they encounter one?
One thing that alarms me is that so many people are picking up baby snakes and placing them in jars ready for my arrival. People get a false sense of security when it comes to a baby snake. They see it as cute and harmless. This is untrue. Baby snakes send far more people to hospital due to that very reason. Snakes are born with the same toxicity as adults. Respect them and they will respect you. Snakes aren’t stupid, they know when your trying to harm them and they will lash out in defence.
Do you think snakes are misunderstood?
Snakes, crocodiles and sharks are all thrown in the same basket as being mindless killers. That’s not the case at all. This is why I livestream most of my catches via my “venom squad” Facebook. I have caught some amazing footage of snakes, including a brown snake trying to play with me after I saved it from bird netting. However, nobody should ever, under any circumstances try to copy or re-enact anything that I do. I film purely for educational purposes and if I catch or hear anybody putting themselves in danger by doing so I will end my videos.