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Snake! What to Do, What Not to Do.

By Hakamike @hakamike
We have a snake at our place right now, somewhere...

Snake! What to do, What not to do.

Eastern Brown Snake

Yesterday afternoon a lady visiting our neighbor over the road knocked on the door and let us know she had spotted a brown snake sunning itself in our driveway as she drove up to park opposite. Of course the snake sensed the vibration of the approaching vehicle and made itself scarce straight away. 
I have no idea where it is now but there were some worthwhile things to do around the place to lower the risk for us and our neighbors.
I've been keeping an eye out for him but haven't spotted him yet. Based on the description I've got him figured for either an Eastern Brown or a King Brown snake.
This morning early I got out the beast, my big 4 stroke motor mower, and attacked all the salt bush and undergrowth along the drive, in the native plant quarter of the yard and down the bottom of the back yard. Chances are if he was still around this morning he's long gone now. Snakes don't like noise much. I fixed the side fence up to give him less ways to get about the place and generally tidied up the yard to remove any nice snake hiding places.
We have double blocks either side of our place that are fairly overgrown with salt bush, native grasses and wildfowers so I suspect he's been camped out on the left side property as there is water there and an old derilict cottage to give him a place to hunt mice and nesting birds.
The do's and the don'ts of snakes: There are some simple enough rules to follow with snakes. Do stand still when you spot one. They have a really short memory and will soon forget you are there. If you've got a camera with you now is a great time to grab a shot but don't try to get closer or move around to get a better angle.
Don't try to hit him with a stick or a broom. Don't chuck things at him trying to kill him or scare him away. A snake will not just rock up to you and bite you. He will bite you if you give him a reason. Don't try to pick him up. Back away from the snake very slowly after you have stood still for a couple of minutes and leave him well enough alone. He's not interested in you he's just getting some sun or looking for prey or water.
A good Australian Snake website, including some stories about snakebite:

Common or Eastern Brown Snake Pseudonaja textilis

The Brown Snake may be found all over Australia. It has extremely potent venom, and although the quantity of venom injected is usually small, this snake causes more snakebite deaths in Australia than any other. Sudden and relatively early deaths have been recorded. Its venom causes severe coagulation disturbances, neurotoxicity, and occasionally nephrotoxicity (by a direct action of the venom), but not rhabdomyolysis. The Gwardir is also known as the Western Brown snake, and the Dugite is a spotted brown snake found in Western Australia. All need brown snake antivenom. See also Venom Supplies brown snake pages, AVRU brown snake info (Eastern Brown, Dugite, Gwardar, and treatment, Australian Reptile Park, Wikipedia. Some more local pics:
  • Eastern (Common) Brown Snake - Pseudonaja textilis (36K jpeg)
  • Western Brown Snake (Gwardir) - Pseudonaja nuchalis (18K jpeg)
  • Dugite - Pseudonaja affinis (59K jpeg)

King Brown or Mulga snake Pseudechis australis
The king brown (or mulga) snake is found in all arid parts of Australia, and has the greatest venom output, with neurotoxic, coagulopthic and myotoxic actions, but of relatively low toxicity. It has a strongly defined dark crosshatched pattern on its scales, and is more related to the black snakes than the brown. The king brown needs black snake antivenom. See also Venom Supplies, AVRU Mulga page. Another picture: Mulga (King Brown) Snake - Pseudechis Australis (20K jpeg)

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