Warning about snakes on plains

Farmers are reporting increased snake sightings as floodwaters force the reptiles onto higher ground.

Sarah Thompson from the NSW Farmers Rural Affairs Committee said many members were reporting an increased number of snake sightings as a result of the flooding, which had also reduced access to veterinary treatment.

“Just yesterday one of our members said she saw three black snakes near her place in a really short space of time, and it’s been like this for a while, they’re just trying to escape the water like we all are,” Mrs Thompson said.

“It’s a worry because people with dogs or who are going out to move stranded livestock are at a higher risk of being bitten.

“This is happening everywhere, we’ve heard recently about livestock being lost to snakes because some farms are more like islands than paddocks, and they can’t get to a vet.”

The spike in snake numbers coincided with increased activity during summer months. According to the Australian Reptile Park, Australia saw approximately 3000 snake bites each year, about 10 per cent of which required antivenom. First aid for snake bites included keeping the bite victim calm and immobile, removing all jewellery or watches, applying a pressure-immobilisation bandage to the bite site, then bandaging the entire limb (not just the bite area) and seeking emergency medical assistance immediately by calling an ambulance or going directly to hospital.

While the advice to keep lawns short and avoid piling up household items was an excellent snake deterrent in urban areas, Mrs Thompson said, for flood-affected rural communities vigilance was key.

“Everyone’s trying to stay dry and the snakes are no exception,” Mrs Thompson said.

“We know snakes aren’t generally trying to hurt us or our animals, but coming closer together because of flooding increases the risk of an attack for humans and animals.

“People just need to use some common sense, keep an eye out and be extra careful!”

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