IF A two-metre brown snake was fast approaching with its mouth open, ready to attack - what would you do?
For Jon Young, that situation is all too common. In fact, it happened to him just the other day.
A snake handler for the past 13 years, Jon has recently moved to the Central Highlands and is the man to call if you come across a sinister, slithering reptile.
"In 13 years I've only been bitten three times and apparently that's good for snake catchers and handlers," he said. "It does depend on the person and how they go about it."
The most dangerous snake Jon has caught was a coastal taipan, which is usually found in coastal areas, South Australia and Queensland.
Jon said the coastal taipan, the eastern and king brown were the most common snakes found in the Central Highlands with the snakes ranging anywhere from one to three metres.
The size of the snake, along with the
colour and shape of the head, are crucial factors in Jon's identification of the creatures, and he said a good description was always helpful when trying to identify a snake over the phone.
Jon's knowledge came from reading many books about the different types of snakes, along with field work.
"I've never had a worry identifying them," he said.
The temperament of the snake varies, he said, though he finds the younger snakes tend to be more aggressive.
With the days quickly warming up, Jon said to expect more snakes about after last summer's wet season.
"The snakes have no choice to move around and there may be more. It is warmer earlier this year, which will probably bring more sightings," he said.
"Be observant where you are walking and stay away from long grass and built-up timber areas. If you walk in open areas there is more chance of you spotting the snake before they see you."
Jon said if you do come across a snake, stay a few metres away, stay as still as you can and wait for it to move on.
"The snakes go by the movement, so the more noise you make when walking is good," he said.
Jon said the hotter the weather is, the more aggressive snakes tend to be and in the case of a snake attacking, the best thing to do was to get out of there as quickly as you can. But if you have nowhere to go, stay as still as you can.
If you see a snake, report it to Jon as soon as possible by calling 0488 106 679. He said he would get there as quickly as he could, provided he wasn't working.
"Try to keep a visual of the snake so when I get there I have 100% chance of getting it out of your way," he said.
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