Snake season is in full swing in the west, with land clearing for the West Gate Tunnel revealing a tiger snake double the size of that usually seen in suburbia.

Stewart Gatt, aka Stewy the Snake Catcher, was last week called to Spotswood after construction workers saw a large tiger snake under the West Gate Bridge.

“We’ve been clearing some snakes up for the guys that are doing the West Gate Tunnel project,” Stewy said. “It was about 1.5, 1.6 metres. They can grow that big, it’s just we very rarely see them that size.

“It was halfway down a rabbit hole and when I grabbed its tail and pulled it out, it tried to defend itself.”

Stewy said the arrival of spring meant snakes were emerging to find food and a mate.

“We have had a few reports,” he said.

“As the weather’s warmed up, the snakes are coming out of their brumation. We have caught snakes in Altona, Williamstown, Altona North.”

Snakes are protected under the Wildlife Act and it is illegal to capture, harm, or kill them.

Stewy is bound by law to relocate snakes to a suitable habitat within five kilometres of where they were caught.

His advice to people who see a snake on public property is to move away and give the snake plenty of room.

“If the snake’s on your property, remove any pets or children out of the way and call a professional snake catcher,” Stewy said.

“Don’t try and catch it yourself.

“If they do suspect that a pet has been bitten, straight to the vets … Or if a person’s been bitten, call an ambulance. Don’t try to drive yourself to the hospital.”