Australian Snakes! The Red Belly Black snake and the Eastern Brown snake.

My love of snakes started when I was employed at the wildlife clinic. A Red Belly Black snake was brought into the clinic with its head stuck in a soda can. The can was gently removed from the snake and then we let the snake slither away. The movement of a snake can be mesmerizing to watch!

Red Belly Black snakes and Eastern Brown snakes live along the east coast of Australia. Canberra is known as the Bush Capital so Eastern Browns are very common. I live across the road from open grasslands so I often see Eastern Brown snakes when I go for walks around the grasslands. Wearing long trousers and thick shoes or boots is a must when walking in these types of areas! My family has seen an Eastern Brown in our garden. I don’t think the snake took up permanent residence because I’ve never seen it – despite the hours I spend sitting outside hoping to spot it!

The Eastern Brown snake is lightening fast and can grow up to two meters in length. They are the second most venomous snake in the world! Eastern Browns are very active in the springtime. Many people like to talk about the ‘aggressiveness’ of the Eastern Brown snake. When an Eastern Brown is threatened their defensive move is often mistaken for aggression. Most of the time we don’t even know snakes are around – they are much more fearful of us! An Eastern Brown snake will most likely remove itself as soon as it hears you coming or slither away when surprised.

Red Belly Black snakes in our area grow to around 1.3 – 1.5 meters in length and are generally fatter in appearance than the Eastern Brown. Although generally placid and with venom less toxic than the Eastern Brown snake, Red Belly Blacks are still considered dangerously venomous. Any snake bite should be treated as an emergency! Red Belly Black snakes are colored as described – black with a red belly! They are more likely to freeze if approached which results in people getting too close to them – the Red Belly Black will then attack when they feel threatened. Red Belly Black snakes can also swim! Ok, I admit that’s a scary thought – swimming along and seeing a Red Belly Black snake! Red Belly Black snakes give birth to live young!

I recently had the pleasure of observing our local snake catcher in action – like working with Superman but while he catches snakes! He carefully caught and relocated a beautiful Eastern Brown snake from a public tennis court. His skill and love for these amazing creatures is evident in the way he speaks to and handles these animals. The nervousness I felt being this close to a snake is clearly evident in my voice! I respect snakes enough to keep my distance and observe them from afar while the experts do what they do best! I was standing on a big tree stump during this entire adventure!

This is a job for the experts!!
And she’s gone – disappears into the bush – perfect camouflage!

If you are concerned about a snake on your property, remember they play an important role in our ecosystem – they keep pests under control! They are less likely to take up permanent residence if you keep your lawns short and your garden free of rubbish and wood. If you encounter a snake in your garden take your pets and children inside and the snake will probably move on. If you are really concerned, or the snake is in your house or garage have someone keep an eye on where the snake is located and call your local, licensed snake handler.

Remember, most snake bites occur because people are trying to catch, relocate or hurt snakes – so if you don’t want to get bitten, leave snakes alone! Please do not chase them or frighten them – just let them be. It is illegal to harm a snake!

My thanks to Gavin for giving his permission to use his images. Snake images as well as the above image are copyrighted to Gavin Smith. Videos are copyrighted to me. Please share a link to my blog but do not share or post images elsewhere.

You can follow me on Instagram – wombats_and_wildlife_heljan09.

Gavin – our Canberra snake expert can be located on Instagram – act_snake_removals.

Published by helenjhardy

Wildlife carer, animal rights supporter, teacher, presenter.

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