Many people have an aversion to snakes, and while most snakes aren’t confrontational by nature, here’s what to do if you encounter a problem at your property.
What to do if you find a snake
From time to time, snakes can be found around residential properties. They play an essential role in the Australian environment and keep mice, rat, frog and skink populations under control. It’s an offence to kill snakes in Australia, so if you find one living in your backyard, you should read the following steps to make it feel unwelcome.
Do not approach or aggravate a snake in any way. Most snake bites will occur when people accidentally step on the animal or attempt to kill them. If you find a snake in or around your house, contact your state/territory’s Department of Parks and Wildlife to be referred to a reptile remover, or search online for a snake removal service near you.
Where will snakes hide?
As with any wildlife, what snakes are looking for is a safe habitat. This means food, water, and above all, shelter. For snakes, shelter from the elements and predators is a must. You may encounter snakes nesting in your garden, in piles of timber, green waste and leaf litter, in large trees, in rock walls with gaps and crevices, in rubbish and litter (sheets of corrugated iron, wooden sleepers) and around food waste.
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Steps to take against snakes
As with any other animal problem, the solution is to find out how the snakes made their way in – holes or gaps in your house – and seals those areas shut. Try to position or prune trees away from your home rather than potentially allowing a snake easy access through your windows.
Keep your children safe from snakes
The best thing you can do to keep your children safe is to keep your garden and surrounding outside area as tidy as possible. Keep the grass cut short, the weeds down, and your outdoor sheds and garages tidy. Don’t leave out any food or water sources, and be aware that any ponds and water features can attract snakes. Doing these things won’t safeguard your garden from snakes, but it does mean that if a snake comes onto your property, you’re more likely to see it. It will also make it less likely that a snake will want to go onto your property – they prefer slithering undercover and in thick vegetation. Never put your hands into an area where you can’t see what’s inside.
Keep your pets safe from snakes
Cats and dogs are at risk of getting hurt by snakes because they’re inquisitive animals. A snake sighting in your backyard or your house will provoke a response from your pet. To keep your cats and dogs safe from snakes, the best thing you can do is keep them indoors. Indoor cats will live much longer, on average, than outdoor cats – not because of snakes, but also because they’re safe from ticks, traffic, dogs, possums and other cats.
Are landlords or tenants responsible for a snake problem?
Snakes are an example of a pest problem you can approach your landlord about. Your case will, of course, be stronger if you can provide the landlord with some assurance that you took reasonable measures to keep your home from being an ideal nesting place.
The landlord will be held responsible for snakes if the snakes were present at the start of the tenancy or if their presence has been caused by the landlord breaching the agreement’s conditions (i.e. leaving piles of rubbish or corrugated iron in the garden). The tenant will be held responsible if the snakes become present during the tenancy.
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