Spring brings out Australia’s snakes

Christine McGinn
(Australian Associated Press)

 

It’s time to watch out for hungry and frisky snakes as Australia heats up, a researcher warns.

Well before summer starts, snakes will be out to bask in the spring sun, University of Melbourne Australian Venom Research Unit postdoctoral research fellow Timothy Jackson said.

But warming their scales won’t be the only thing on their minds.

“When they’re warm enough, they get hungry – they may not have eaten for months. They get other urges too … spring is the season for love,” Dr Jackson said.

Between 81,000 and 138,000 people around the world die each year from venomous snake bites while up to 400,000 are left with permanent disabilities, the World Health Organisation estimates.

Australia is home to the highest proportion of snakes, lizards, crocodiles and turtles found in any country.

“This is nothing to be alarmed about, but it does give us an additional reason to pay attention to our surroundings because, as we all know, encounters with snakes don’t always end well,” Dr Jackson.

Snakes aren’t “out to get us” and people should be “snake sensible” by leaving the creatures alone, monitoring pets and children, and learning first-aid, he added.

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