Wildlife Aid handler warns of risk during busy snake season in Upper Hunter

DEADLY: The eastern brown snake is one of the most common in the area. Photo: Australian Reptile Park
DEADLY: The eastern brown snake is one of the most common in the area. Photo: Australian Reptile Park

FOLLOWING the death of a Tamworth man after a snake bite on Wednesday, local snake handler Daryl Claydon has voiced a timely warning about the dangers associated with the reptiles.

Mr Claydon volunteers his time with Upper Hunter-based not-for-profit network Wildlife Aid, which works in rescue and rehabilitation of wildlife and snake removal and release.

While based in Muswellbrook, Mr Claydon says the majority of jobs he attends are in Scone and in the past few weeks he has had seven to eight call-outs alone.

“Due to the dry and hot conditions, snakes are coming into people’s gardens looking for somewhere cooler and to seek water,” he said.

“The eastern brown is the most common, but I also hear of the odd black snake too.”

While it may seem easier said than done to stay calm, according to the expert, the best thing to do is stand still until it moves away.

“I would recommend not trying to kill the snake, as that’s often when bites happen,” Mr Claydon said.

“If you want the snake removed, Call Wildlife Aid on 0429 850 089, but if possible, keep an eye on the snake from a safe distance.”

Mr Claydon says he receives a large number of calls after the snake is already well out of sight, and as the single volunteer snake handler in the region, it can sometimes be frustrating.

“I’ve been a snake handler for 15 years and a lot of the time the trouble comes down to bad house maintenance,” he said.

I’ve been a snake handler for 15 years and a lot of the time the trouble comes down to bad house maintenance.

Wildlife Aid volunteer Daryl Claydon

Things like keeping your yard well maintained, your lawn trimmed, and door shut go a long way towards keeping your house safe.

“Even keeping your shoes inside and simple steps like wearing a long sleeved shirt, proper boots, and gloves if you’re gardening,” Mr Claydon said.

Wildlife Aid volunteer Daryl Claydon removing a brown snake at Mt Pleasant

Wildlife Aid volunteer Daryl Claydon removing a brown snake at Mt Pleasant

“Snake’s are not dangerous unless cornered or confronted.

“And, I always tell people, don’t put your feet or hands anywhere you can’t see them.”

In the event of a snake in your home, or shed, the best course of action is to shut the door, exit the room calmly and place a towel underneath the door, then call for assistance to have it removed.

Mr Claydon, a retired State Emergency Service worker with 20 years’ experience, said in the event of a bite, it was important to stay calm, use a compression bandage, stay still and call Triple-0.

It’s believed there have been fewer than 40 deaths from snake bites in Australia since 2000, with the brown snake considered to be one of the deadliest in the country.