An Altona Meadows couple are attemping to snake-proof their home after their dog was bitten and nine snakes in 10 days were caught on their property.
Kim Meurer and John Hillas, whose house in Eucalypt Court backs onto wetlands, said the suburb was inundated with snakes.
“We always get snakes – nearly every year – but this year’s been remarkable where we’ve had so many in such a short time,” Ms Meurer said.
“I’ve got two huskies and unfortunately the boy huskie, Boston, got bitten this time, so nearly $4000 in saving him.”
She said the dogs were undergoing “snake evasion training” while Mr Hillas was installing snake wire and trying to plug every hole on the property.
“One day was a little bit emotional for me because I’ve got one grandchild and I love her coming over on the weekends, but my daughter has trained her now when they get out of the car [to watch for snakes],” Ms Meurier said.
“And we’re very cautious when we go out the backyard – we’re just constantly surveying the area, we have to be really vigilant.”
Stewart Gatt, aka, Stewy the Snake Catcher, said he was receiving between 10-15 call-outs a day, mainly for tiger snakes.
He said he was bound by law to relocate the snakes to within five kilometres of where they were caught.
“There is a always a possibility that they can come back depending on where we let them go, but we try to find them a nice open area with plenty of food, plenty of water and stick them in there and hope for the best,” he said.
Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning wildlife officer Abby Smith said snakes were emerging from hibernation to bask in the sun and search for food and a mate.
“Snake controllers must relocate any snakes caught within a suitable habitat on public land,” she said.
“This is to ensure they aren’t moved beyond their natural habitat.
“When we choose to live in areas dense with wildlife, snakes will usually be a part of the ecological landscape.
“Ensuring your property is tidy and clear of debris, piles of logs, rocks and other hiding places for snakes and their prey will help to reduce the likelihood of snakes on your property. It will also ensure that any snakes that do occur there are more likely to be noticed and avoided.
“People who live in or travel to areas where snakes occur should have immediate access to a wide, elastic bandage capable of covering an entire adult limb, and know how to apply the ‘pressure immobilisation’ first aid technique.”
Ms Smith said all snake bites should be considered life-threatening.
Snakes are protected under the Wildlife Act and it is illegal to capture, harm, or kill them.