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Posted by rayhoser on January 01, 2003 at 16:45:15:
Homes on alert as snakes seek refuge
By BRYAN LITTLELY
DANGEROUS snakes are being found in Adelaide suburbs in high numbers and experts say expected extreme hot weather in coming weeks will drive them indoors.
Snake-Away Services manager Ian Renton said he had taken more than 500 reports of snakes in November – 50 per cent more than the same time last year. A further 250 reports of snakes in populated areas had been made to the firm last month.
Mr Renton said he expected the reptiles would make their way into homes as temperatures exceeded 40C. "Snakes will die as soon as their temperature gets to 42C, so they are going to be in search of water and cooler spots," he said.
"October and November are the worst months – they are hungry, mating and can get pretty aggressive – but snakes will be around from September to April."
Mr Renton said the biggest concern was with children playing in snake-prone areas. "When it's school holidays, kids are out and about and they are generally fascinated by reptiles," he said.
"There's a lot of legless lizards that look almost identical to snakes.
"Children will go out and pick up lizards and sometimes they will be putting themselves in extreme danger by picking up snakes." Mr Renton said a three-year-old Munno Para girl was bitten by a brown snake last month while climbing through a fence and had been treated at Lyell McEwin Health Service. "Parents need to be aware of where their children are and advise them not to go where snakes are more likely to be," he said.
Hikers, mountain bike riders and cross-country motorcyclists also should be aware of the dangers.
People could snake-proof their homes by cleaning up rubbish in yards to keep mice numbers down, blocking small gaps and holes under doors and in walls and keeping ground cover down.
If you come across a snake, Mr Renton said you should stand still and wait for the snake to pass before leaving in the opposite direction. He said it helped professional catchers if people could tell them where the snake went. Untrained people should never try to dispose of a snake themselves.