The summer period is a wonderful time in the South West, with the vast coastline providing a wonderful place to enjoy the great outdoors.
However, the summer heat also brings the region’s snakes out of hibernation which often strikes fear in people who happen to cross paths with them.
Busselton and Australind Wishing Well Clinic doctor Kin Lee said South West residents must be cautious and not scared of snakes during the warmer months.
“We should spare a thought for our slithery friends,” Dr Lee said. “Spring and summer is the time when snakes are actively seeking love, hunting food, and basking in the sun.”
Snakes play an integral role in the environment and they are even programmed to avoid natural predators. In most cases, a snake will only bite as a means of self-defence if it is accidentally stepped on, cornered, or forced to defend itself from a human intent on hurting it.
“Dangerously venomous dugites and tiger snakes are common in the Busselton area,” Dr Lee said.
“Because of that everyone living in the South West should be able to identify likely snake habitats and know how to avoid the risk of snake bite.”
Being snake aware is not hard and snakes can be avoided if simple care is taken while in bushland and grassy areas during the summer months.
Walking or cycling in cleared areas where you can see the ground makes spotting snakes easier, while wearing long trousers and enclosed footwear when bush walking is also recommended.
“If you’re bitten use current snake bite first aid and not the old ways,” Dr Lee said.
If bitten do not wash venom off the skin, cut the bitten area, or suck the venom out of the wound, but instead wrap the area in a compression bandage as recommended by St John’s Snake Bite First Aid steps. Also, do not use a tourniquet or try to catch the snake as these techniques are out-of-date and can potentially be dangerous to your health.
“After applying snake bite first aid call an ambulance or get the victim to the emergency department of the nearest hospital,” Doctor Lee said.
“Most GP clinics are not equipped to deal with snake bites.”
A snake in the grass is best left alone, but if one does slither into your backyard or into your house please call the Department of Parks and Wildlife on 9756 0211 – they will have a list of qualified snake handlers in your area.
Be snake aware this summer and enjoy the great outdoors.