People need to be careful after a string of warm days has brought snakes out of hibernation earlier than usual, trained snake catcher Neville Suter says.
Port Fairy Pest Control owner Mr Suter said people who tried to catch or kill snakes instead of paying a fee for a registered snake catcher could risk being seriously injured or killed.
He said some people had told him they would try to kill snakes themselves.
“They’re just going to get bitten,” Mr Suter said.
“If you try to attack them, they’ll attack you.”
He said snakes were scared of people and more interested in trying to get away from them.
Due to snakes’ status as protected wildlife, it is also illegal to capture, kill or harm them.
Mr Suter said last week he received five calls about snakes in the region. He captured a tiger snake last Sunday and a copperhead snake on Tuesday. He said snakes were usually released within five kilometres of the original location.
Mr Suter said more frequent snake sightings usually start in October or November.
The trained snake catcher has been in the role for about three years, and said luckily he had never been bitten.
Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) spokesman Nathan MacDonald said in spring snakes start to pop up to search for a mate and food after hibernating in winter.
“Snakes are commonly found around urban waterways and wetlands, beaches and foreshore areas, as well as residential backyards,” Mr MacDonald said.
“The most common snakes found in the Warrnambool area are eastern brown and tiger snakes, along with lowland copperheads and occasionally the red-bellied black snake.”
Mr MacDonald warned snakes could bite pets and people should contact a vet if that happened.
He recommended people clean up areas around their houses, cut lawns regularly and clean up chook pens to deter rodents, which may attract snakes.
Mr MacDonald also said snakes were attracted to shelter such as piles of timber, rocks or building materials.
If you see a snake, contact DELWP on 136 186 or your local council.
If you try to attack them, they’ll attack you.Neville Suter