Snake catcher warns community
An Emerald man was bitten by a snake and taken to hospital last Friday.
The snake was inside the man’s home.
Neil Dale, a miner and one of Emerald’s few qualified snake catchers, spends much of his time in town removing reptiles from people’s houses. He learnt the skill about 15 years ago while working in the mines.
“I’ve been working in the mining industry for quite a number of years and that was part and parcel of the job,” he said. “Snakes on mine sites are a common problem.”
“And one of the big problems with snakes in town is there aren’t people around who are authorised to get rid of snakes.
“I’d rather go and help somebody out rather than they try to do it themselves and get bitten.”
Mr Dale said that with the temperatures now rising, he most frequently dealt with eastern browns.
“They certainly seem to be very active at the moment. I’m not sure whether they’re looking for females or food, but they’re on the move.
“When we had the Duck Dash down the river there was a brown snake coming through where all the kids were on the jumping castle. That one I had to deal with in a hurry.”
The snakes will typically make their homes near a food source, Mr Dale said.
Anything which attracts rodents will also attract their predators.
“People have things that are likely to attract mice. If they’ve got rubbish around, then the snakes will follow behind them.”
His advice was to remember that snakes typically acted defensively and would look for ways to escape what they perceived as a threat.
“If they feel cornered, they get very aggressive, but basically they’re trying to get away,” Mr Dale said.
“They see something bigger than them, that’s a threat to them. If they have an escape route, they will take it and go. They’ll get out of there as fast as they can.”
He said to call an ambulance immediately if you were bitten.
“It can be very serious. They’re one of our most venomous snakes.
“The main thing is people shouldn’t try to pick them up or kill them themselves. They should leave them alone and give them an exit.”
The Queensland Ambulance Service said that in November, it attended to 12 snake bites in Central Queensland. In the past three weeks, Mr Dale has been called out four times.