As we enter the full swing of snake season, Pet Insurance Australia is urging all pet lovers to be extra vigilant when it comes to slithery serpents this summer.
“As we all strive to enjoy the great outdoors, it is important to remember that there are a few slithery creatures around, and for a curious canine or kitty it can lead to horrendous consequences,” informs Nadia Crighton from Pet Insurance Australia.
*Research indicates that in Australia around 3,000 people will be bitten each year. For our pets a snakebite can cause horrific injury and lead to death. Pet Insurance Australia notices a definite increase in snakebite claims from the months of September to March with figures peaking in January.
“As we move more and more towards native bushlands, snakes are becoming a real problem for people and pets,” states Crighton. “We also like to remind people to keep their pets on leads around this time of year to ensure that they don’t accidentally come across a snake during one of their daily outings.”
Karen Barrett, former snake rescuer with the Native Animal Trust Fund (NATF), and founder of the popular Australian made hands-free dog leash: Tail Runner, understands the importance of keeping our dogs, and snakes, safe this summer.
As an ultra-marathon runner, she is big on training alongside her dogs in heavy bushlands.
“All of my training is through the bush and we run almost every day all year round – rain, hail or shine,” Karen says. “I’ve come across snakes around eight times in the past two years.”
That includes four Red Belly Black snakes, one White Lipped snake, two Diamond Pythons and one Eastern Brown.
“The last time was a couple of months ago, with a couple of large Red Belly Blacks that were busy during the mating season, thankfully they were preoccupied,” says Karen. “There would be a heck of a lot more that I don’t know about!”
Keeping pets on leashes, and being vigilant with snake-proofing your home is important during these hot months.
Simple steps to help prevent snakebites:
- Keep your pet on leash when walking through bushlands or long grass.
- Keep lawns and grass short.
- Keep rubbish to a bare minimum around the block.
- Move woodpiles away from dog areas.
- Check for snakes and skins.
- Keep dog areas free from ‘hiding’ places.
- Leave water features empty around this time of year.
- Do not let your dog off leash in high-risk areas such as bushland.
- Consider keeping cats indoors during these months.
Karen also recommends not allowing your dog to go off chasing wildlife or pouncing in long grass.
“Snakes tend to be more active during early morning and late afternoon, when most people take their dog for a walk before and after work,” states Karen. “If your dog is the curious type that pounces through the bushes and long grass try and catch them before they pounce. If you know your dog well enough, you will notice this behaviour straight away. So, go and have a look at what has their attention.
If you suspect that your pet has been bitten take them immediately to the closest emergency veterinary clinic for treatment.
Pet Insurance Australia reminds pet owners to also be extra cautious around the home when it comes to snakes.
“If you believe you have a snake on your property, call in the experts. They can help you track down the snake and will also provide you with ample information to keep your pet safe,” Crighton says. “They will also know if you have a snake problem in your area and other things that you should be aware of.”
With a little planning, reducing the risk to your pet during this snake season is achievable by adapting to a simple routine.
“If you know you have a snake issue in your area, being extra cautious may protect your pet against a nasty snakebite.”