The Southern Death Adder (Acanthophis antarcticus) are small and venomous. They are inconspicuous and often very well camouflaged. They vary in colour, but are typically mottled brown with varied patterning. In Perth, they are not as frequently encountered. They are found in a variety of habitats and caution should be taken in large reserves with thick undergrowth.
WHAT TO DO
1. Stand Back and Walk Away
Do not try to catch or kill a snake (this is dangerous and illegal)! Most people who get bitten by snakes do so when attempting to remove or kill them. Walk away from it slowly and keep an eye on it from a safe distance (several metres away). Keep your pets safely away from it and the snake will usually move on in its own time.
2. Call a Professional
If the snake has decided to stay around, and you want it removed, you will need to contact a licensed snake handler. They will visit and do a thorough inspection to collect the snake. If the snake is inside the house, close the door of the room it is in and place a towel under the door to prevent it from exiting before you call.
3. Keep a line of Sight
Keep spaces between your plants clear and prune the lower branches of shrubs as this will increase your chance of seeing a snake from a safe distance. Keep your wildlife garden pruned and maintain to reduce vegetation overgrowth. If you want to use ground cover, opt for low-lying mat-like native ground cover around footpaths as this will increase your chance of seeing a snake from a safe distance.
4. Organise the Garden
Snakes love to hide and hunt around building materials and general rubbish. Avoid providing them amble hiding spaces by not laying corrugated iron or fencing on the ground. Similarly, if you have a wood heap, keep it away from the house. Lastly, do you really need to keep all those things you’ve been meaning to remove for months? Take advantage of council hard rubbish pick ups or maybe a visit to the tip is in order.
5. Be Aware Around Frog Ponds
Keep wildlife baths and frog ponds a safe distance from the home to avoid a close encounter with a snake. Frogs are a favourite food for snakes and they may come looking for prey. Make sure you maintain the garden surrounding a frog pond to increase your chance of seeing a snake from a safe distance.
Remember, Snakes Play a Critical Role
Snakes play a critical role in our local ecosystem and are protected under environmental legislation. When snakes are present, communities can use fewer poisons to control vermin and pests. Having a predator in the area is a sign the ecosystem is working well, and the environment boasts growing levels of biodiversity.