It's snake and spider season in Young

IT'S SLITHERY TIME: The number of snakes found around Young has increased due to temperatures and drought-like conditions.
IT'S SLITHERY TIME: The number of snakes found around Young has increased due to temperatures and drought-like conditions.

A local snake catcher and ambulance officer are warning locals not to try and take on snakes by themselves for the protection of their own health.

Young Ambulance Inspector Stephen Pollard is also urging residents to be cautious with spiders also being out in abundance.

“Around the home, remove piled up debris from the yard and keep lawns mowed to reduce the potential for unexpected visitors,” Mr Pollard said.

According to Mr Pollard in 2017 paramedics attended 774 incidents involving snakes and spiders compared with 740 in 2016.

“The first three months of the year are traditionally the peak period for snake and spider bites,” Mr Pollard said.

According to data from NSW Ambulance the peak activity for the past three years across the state was: 2017 – January with 136 incidents, 2016 – February with 117 incidents and 2015 – January with 139 incidents.

“Check items of clothing that have been left outside before wearing them. Paramedics attend many cases where people have put on boots and gloves and been bitten by spiders and even snakes which were hidden inside,” Mr Pollard said. “If you lift something such as a rock or log, lift it with it facing away from you.”

Mr Pollard also said parents should be particularly vigilant of children playing outside.

In the event of a snake or spider bite Mr Pollard recommends calling 000 and ask for an ambulance.

“First aid for a snake and spider bite varies depending on the species,” he said.

For snakes and funnel web spiders:

  • if the bite is on a limb, apply pressure immobilisation bandage. For all other bites apply direct, firm pressure to the bite site with hands. Keep the patient still and discourage them from walking around
  • never cut or excise the wound. Do not attempt to suck out venom and don’t apply a tourniquet

For spiders (eg redbacks, white-tails, trapdoors etc):

  • apply an ice pack or cold compress to relieve the pain and
  • if severe symptoms develop seek medical aid
  • in the case of small children involved in a suspected red back spider bite, medical aid should be sought irrespective of whether symptoms manifest
STAY SAFE: Ambulance Inspector Stephen Pollard warns locals to be careful when dealing with snakes and spiders.

STAY SAFE: Ambulance Inspector Stephen Pollard warns locals to be careful when dealing with snakes and spiders.

Removing snakes

The first three months of the year are traditionally the peak period for snake and spider bites.

Stephen Pollard

The number of snakes found around properties in and around Young has increased already this season with the harsh drought like conditions.

Wildcare snake catcher Rowan Hosken has received a few call outs, but advises locals to contact Wildcare immediately if they spot a snake on their property.

The call to Wildcare is free as is the removal services.

Mr Hosken said the best thing residents can do when they find a snake is to keep an eye on the reptile as they can disappear quickly. 

“There is nothing worse than finding a snake and not knowing where it’s gone,” Mr Hosken said. “Secure pets and children and if you’re really close stand still and wait for it to move.”

He said if someone sees a snake and is further away it is best to keep a distance and slowly move in the opposite direction.

Mr Hoskens and Wildcare discourage locals from killing snakes they find as they are a protected species.

“You can’t just go out and kill them,” Mr Hosken said.

SNAKES GONE FOR FREE: Rowan Hosken is a Wildcare snake catcher in Young.

SNAKES GONE FOR FREE: Rowan Hosken is a Wildcare snake catcher in Young.

When Wildcare officers remove snakes they move them to a non-residential and suitable environment for their release.

Mr Hosken completed a course through Wildcare which has three qualified snake catchers in the Young region.

Wildcare will also be holding another course later this year and anyone who is interested or would like to become a Wildcare volunteer can find out more information at www.wildcare.com.au.

Anyone who finds a snake on their property is encouraged to contact Wildcare who will be able to dispatch one of the three snake catchers in the area as quickly as possible.

The contact number for Wildcare is 62991966.