Snake catcher Jarrod Bingham is a sight for sore eyes when residents need to clear their homes of many unwanted guests. The Moorabool councillor talks with Esther Lauaki about critters and community.
What’s your connection with Melton and Moorabool?
I am currently a local councillor for Moorabool Shire Council and a local snake catcher who works throughout the Bacchus Marsh and Melton areas. I come from a long line of farmers who have farmed the Parwan and Rowsley areas for generations.
How long have you lived in the area?
I have lived in the area my entire life, it’s a beautiful area rich in environmental and heritage significance that needs protecting, which is partly why I joined council in the first place, I can see myself living here for the rest of my life.
What are you passionate about?
I am passionate about helping the community, wildlife and promoting conservation.
Ten years ago I become a snake catcher as I didn’t want to see our wildlife numbers dwindle.
Tell me about your involvement in the Moorabool community?
As a Moorabool councillor I have the privilege of attending many local events, visiting and being able to help people from all walks of life, I love what I do, it’s such a rewarding experience knowing that I have managed to help improve someone’s life, no matter how big or small their issue was. My goal in life is to help as many people as I can to improve their lives and to actually make an impact in this life
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.
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.
What other hats to you wear in the community?
I have worked alongside the Irwins for two years at Australia Zoo and I have wrangled crocodiles in Darwin for about six months.
I also think people would also be surprised to know that I will be running as an Independent for the seat of Melton at the end of year state elections.