Dealing with snakes - Perth, Western Australia
In Spring and Summer, many reptiles emerge to bask in the sun. During this time you should take precautions to minimise the chance of encountering snakes.
Remember, snakes are an integral part of the natural environment and play an important role in wildlife ecosystems.
Common snakes around Perth
Dangerously venomous dugites and tiger snakes are common in the metropolitan area. Both species hunt small mammals, frogs and lizards, and are active during the day and at night in warm weather.
- Tiger snakes (Notechis scutatus) are most common in vegetation around wetland areas, but may be found well away from water. They are seen throughout the year sunning themselves in open areas.
- Dugites (Pseudonaja affinis) are most common in the drier bushland areas around Perth, especially grasslands. These fast-moving snakes are attracted to aviaries and other locations where mice can be found.
- Take care in bushland and grassy areas.
- Walk and/or cycle in cleared areas only, where you can see the ground.
- When bushwalking, wear long trousers and boots or other enclosed footwear that preferably cover the ankles.
- Keep a watchful eye on the ground about a metre ahead of where you are walking, and avoid entering areas of long grass, rushes and undergrowth.
- Around your home remove long grass and items lying on the ground such as corrugated iron, which may provide cover for snakes.
- Reduce mice numbers around the house.
If you find a snake
Do not approach or aggravate it in any way. Most bites occur when people accidentally step on snakes, or while attempting to kill them. As the warmer days of Spring approach, snakes become more active as they leave their winter retreats in search of a mate and food.
If you find a snake in a garden or a house, contact Parks and Wildlife Wildcare Helpline or (08) 9474 9055 to be referred to a reptile remover, or search online for a snake removal service near you.
Advice can also be obtained by phoning the Parks and Wildlife service on (08) 9219 9840.
If you or a friend suspect you've been bitten by a snake
Taken from the St John snake bite advice
IN A MEDICAL EMERGENCY CALL TRIPLE ZERO (000) FOR AN AMBULANCE.
Follow DRSABCD Danger > Response > Send for help > Airway > Breathing > CPR > Defibrillation
The DRSABCD Action Plan is the first step when providing first aid. Use this to assess the immediate situation.
All known or suspected snake bites must be treated as potentially life-threatening, and medical aid should be sought urgently.
WARNING Do not wash venom off the skin or clothes because it may assist identification.
Signs and Symptoms
Signs of a snake bite are not always visible and, in some cases, the patient may not have felt anything. Symptoms may not appear for an hour or more after the person has been bitten.
Depending on the type of snake, signs and symptoms may include some or all of the following:
- immediate or delayed pain at the bite site
- swelling, bruising or local bleeding
- bite marks (usually on a limb) that may vary from obvious puncture wounds to scratches that may be almost invisible
- swollen and tender glands in the groin or armpit of the bitten limb
- faintness, dizziness
- nausea and vomiting
- abdominal pain
- oozing of blood from the bite site or gums
- double or blurred vision
- drooping eyelids
- difficulty in speaking or swallowing
- limb weakness or paralysis
- difficulty in breathing
- occasionally, initial collapse or confusion followed by partial or complete recovery
What To Do
- Follow DRSABCD.
- Call triple zero (000) for an ambulance.
- Lie the patient down and ask them to keep still. Reassure the patient.
- If on a limb, apply an elasticised roller bandage (10–15 cm wide) over the bite site as soon as possible. Apply a further elasticised roller bandage (10–15 cm wide), starting just above the fingers or toes and moving upwards on the bitten limb as far as can be reached. Use clothing or other material if an elasticised roller bandage is not available. Apply the bandage as tightly as possible to the limb.
- Immobilise the bandaged limb using splints.
- Keep the patient lying down and completely still (immobilised).
- Write down the time of the bite and when the bandage was applied. If possible, mark the location of the bite site (if known) on the skin with a pen, or photograph the site.
- Stay with the patient until medical aid arrives.
Original article drawn from this DPaW post
Brad is behind scenes at Adventurous Women. He joins Sue in her passion for travel and can be often found working "location independent" somewhere in the world.