Catcher preaches responsible practices amid callout uptick

Catcher preaches responsible practices amid callout uptick

A ‘BIZARRE’ summer season has been largely responsible for dozens of snake removal operations in the Greater Geelong region in recent months, says a local expert.

Highton-based snake catcher and owner of Elapid Snake Catcher, Jay Baynes, said a cold, wet start to the summer combined with rising tides are the main factors behind the recent spike in callouts.

“I’ve noticed over the past few months that snakes have often been pushed out through the city’s water systems and washed out of their natural habitats into areas frequented by residents,” said Mr Baynes.

“Snake sightings and calls have also increased overall in recent years, largely because more residents are allowed to work from home and see snakes during the day when they would otherwise be at work.

A copperhead snake observed by CoGG officers at Lake Lorne Reserve, Drysdale last week.

“There are several factors at play here, but I have to say it’s been a bizarre season so far.”

The number of dedicated snake catchers and snake scavengers has risen to three in the Surf Coast, Bellarine and Geelong regions, including Mr Baynes, all employed by Geelong’s municipal services department.

“When necessary, we hire a professional snake trapper to investigate snake sightings in public areas and relocate them to appropriate habitat or place signs as needed,” said Rodney Thomas, deputy director of city services.

“Snakes often seek out warm places like concrete surfaces and dry, open areas to bask.

“From Lara to Connewarre and the Barwon River Reserves, we’re getting reports of snake sightings across the community. We advise residents to keep their distance as snakes are particularly active in spring and summer.”

The council received 35 reported snake sightings from September 2022 to Friday 20 January this year, including nine in December 2022 and six so far this month.

Both Mr Baynes and the City advise if a resident encounters a snake they should:

Keep calm and try to move away from the line.

Keep your distance from the snake and make sure that children and pets also keep their distance.

Never try to touch, catch or kill the snake.

If bitten, provide first aid and seek immediate medical attention by calling 000.

Call the Department for Energy, Environment and Climate Change on 136 186 if you need advice.

Residents can notify the city at 5272 5272 from where they can hire a snake catcher, or call a snake catcher directly.

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