5 January 2010

Snakes in Canberra.

| Thumper
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Over the past week and a bit the Thumper household has acquired a new resident, a large brown snake who, despite some persuasion, refuses to leave. Suprisingly it appears that there is not one person in the Territory who can remove snakes from residential areas and this includes ACT rangers who apparently no longer perform this duty.

Now, one must remember that killing snakes is illegal, and that most people who are bitten by snakes were in the process of trying to kill them. Therefore, one would suspect that snake removal would be a core part of any ranger’s job. Instead they advise that you spray the snake with water. Presumably they melt like wicked witches 😉

So Rioters, as a public service, if you do have a pesky snake in your yard or whatever, don’t bother calling anyone. You’ll just have to deal with it yourself.

(As for this particular snake, we are in the process of removing anything and everything that he can live under, as well as simply making life unpleasant for him so that he moves on)

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Sorry, I should have said the reason I mentioned my background and philosophy was that the ACT rangers made the comment ‘oh you sure you haven’t just seen a blue tongue?’ and implied we were snake haters. You see why I don’t post much?! Maybe I should, I need the practice!

Sorry…that would be labor!

Hi flicka

Mrs Thumper here. I don’t post much but I read the Act a bit. Just to put the whole story as there are a lot of assumptions being made here – I have spoken to at least 8 people over the past 3 plus weeks trying to get something done. This has ranged from the ACT Government, urban rangers, the National Zoo and Aquarium, RSPCA Wildlife and have looked up commercial pest controllers. By the way snake handlers are listed in the yellow pages index but when you turn to the section they don’t exist. I have mentioned that we removed the mouse food source and all hiding places including the shelter sheds for the ducks, have made life as uncomfortable as possible for Mr or Mrs Snakey but it is still here – seems taken up residence. I have seem him several times. I also mentioned the child and old lady who likes gardening next door and the numerous pet animals in surrounding back yards. And yes, I even offered to pay for a snake removal – in fact I have continually offered to pay. But to no avail. I even asked if they had the contact of a commercial handler – seems they don’t exist because (as RSPCA Wildlife told me) they apparently can’t get licensed from the ACT Government. I have an environmental science background, he is a beautiful creature and I have a strong animal welfare and rights philosophy. Hence we would just like him relocated before one of the neighbours who may not be so oriented takes the metter into their own hands. Or someone gets a nasty bite which could happen accidentally and easily enough no matter how vigilant you are being. Not good enough Mr Stanhope – from a former labour voter.

Oush, seriously, the Rangers have a hard enough time keeping up with all the dogs Canberrans seem to discard on the streets, or allow dangerous dogs they own out into the public without a leash. Let’s not get on about the fact they’re trying to stop people putting echidnas in buckets and cleaning up after kangaroos that have been hit by cars.

It’s a snake. By the time a ranger gets out there, most of the time it has moved on. They’re pretty fast in the hot weather. We live in Australia, not some exotic creature that’s escaped from the zoo. We also live in the bush capital, being surrounded by bush, this is the price we pay.

And it’s easy to cope with snakes, I’ve lived with them growing up on a farm, and never had to kill one because I obeyed the simple rules that all children should be taught.

If you want a ranger in every house, then be prepared to pay more taxes. If you don’t want to pay more taxes, then if the snake has moved into your house, it’s called a pest exterminator. It’s your own home. You don’t expect the government to pay for a wall falling down, or a busted pipe. You deal with it.

Sorry, but this whole desire for the government to do every little thing annoys me. I would hands down, prefer those Rangers to be dealing with injured animals and dangerous dogs than chasing after snakes in someone else’s home that they saw once. You’ll be wanting them to chase after red back spiders and white tails next.

TP 3000 said :

My current dog has actually caught a few brown snakes on a property out Cooma way. He sneaks up & grabs them right behind the head & bites. He has never needed medical attention because of it.

Your ‘previous’ dogs didn’t master the technique?

My current dog has actually caught a few brown snakes on a property out Cooma way. He sneaks up & grabs them right behind the head & bites. He has never needed medical attention because of it.

ramblingted said :

Aside from that, I guess Samuel L Jackson’s your man..

He’s only interested if they’re airborne

barking toad12:56 pm 07 Jan 10

Get a mongoose

Or a shotty.

This is what you need:



younow thumper……you have missed quite an opportunity here…….when cooked properly brown snakes (any snake really) are extremely tasty…..

MsCheeky said :

Snakes can’t hear, and they can’t see you if you don’t move.

Dangerous advice, that.

Snakes have functioning ears, (they’re just embedded internally with no external opening, but nowhere near as functional as human ears, and relatively poor at hearing even compared to lizards), some have excellent vision (but most of them rely on scent detection instead, hence flicking their tongue around the place) and some (like taipans) can detect you even when you’re not moving, they’ll just use their heat-detecting pit organs instead.

troll-sniffer12:00 pm 07 Jan 10

Anyone who advocates spraying a snake with a hose is an idiot. Maybe a high pressure nozzle from more than 10 metres might be OK, but my old man nearly learnt the hard way that you SHOULD NOT SPRAY A SNAKE.

He was watering the garden and saw the tail of a brown in the flower bed, so he moved around and from 3 metres away directed the hose at the snake. He remembers in an instant this shape launched itself up the stream of water and luckily fall short, and he just dropped the hose and jumped back then skedaddled outta there. By the time he went back for another look the snake had disappeared luckily.

But the moral of the story is, the snake doesn’t know what this shape coming towards it is (the jet or spray of water that is), it will in a millisecond either retreat or launch an attack, and a snake can throw itself quite a long way and then pursue at almost running pace. If you’re lucky you will not be seen as part of this new threat, if you’re unlucky you might be targeted.

Almost without exception, snakes will attempt to slither away from an uncomfortable situation. So if you can find away to annoy it without provoking an attack, chances are it will move on. Regular thumping of the ground in the area you think the snake is will normally convince one to move on unless there’s a nearby attraction such as mice or eggs etc. Patience will see your friend move on, and just be wary in the warmer months of their presence, take a little care and make lots of thumping noises when in your yard and you should be safe.

Thumper, good on you for not killing it, although I understand your nervousness with your menagerie. Brown snakes don’t stay in one place, so if you haven’t seen it for a few days, I’d be guessing that its moved on. Unlikely to be laying eggs, as they do that in spring.

The thing to remember with snakes is they want to encounter us even less than we want to encounter them, so generally they’ll go away from you. That said, I have encountered a red belly black who was completely unconcerned with four humans and two dogs having a picnic where he was, and it was pretty nonchalant about moving amongst us for about five minutes even though we were stamping our feet etc.

The snake guy who sets up at the Canberra show every year has this advice should you look down and find a snake at your feet – stand still, (and scream if you must). Snakes can’t hear, and they can’t see you if you don’t move. Good in theory, but I reckon 99 people out of a 100 are going to jump before the rational brain engages!

Clown Killer10:35 am 07 Jan 10

Remove nice habitat, make a bunch of noise, keep the grass short and give the little fella a squirt with the hose whenever you see him – he’ll soon be gone.

front page C/T says that the ranger came out to this house and removed the snake… Mayne you spoke to the wrong person?

We had a brown snake in our yard the week before Christmas. TAMs said they would come and pick it up but we have to keep an eye on where it goes. Don’t know how you’re supposed to do that and run inside to get the phone. We did say to them we have young kids so that’s why they might have said they’d come around. They also said it is probably just passing through and I haven’t seen it in the meantime so hopefully that’s the case.

neanderthalsis9:02 am 07 Jan 10

Snake removal Method:

1. Give a generous squirt with a CO2 fire extinguisher, it cools them down, so being cold blooded critters they can’t do much.

2. Pick up with apporpriately long handled instument and put in bag.

3. Relocate to a creek somewhere far enough away that it won’t come back.

Todays CT reports heroic ACT rangers removing snakes from someone’s house..Maybe you need to tell them its inside, then say it just moved outside when the Ranger arrives..

Aside from that, I guess Samuel L Jackson’s your man..

old canberran8:29 am 07 Jan 10

Are you sure there is only one Thumper. I read somewhere once that Brown snakes are usually found in pairs. If you kill one the other one will get you, eventually. Good luck.

When we lived on a farm in Wamboin, the Browns used to steal the chicken eggs. So why not try leaving a trail of eggs (that it will surely follow), to s.wh that you are happy for it to go?!?!?!

Skidbladnir said :

Brown snakes are actually very affectionate creatures, but their ‘bite’ is terribly misunderstood by society.
They are simply trying to hug you with their mouths.

This message was brought to you by TAMS

omg LOL! cue extremely unattractive sounding but genuine snort of laughter.

yep.. i realise that… I spent a lot of time as a kid on a farm, in fact, still do…

basketcase said :

Here in upper Latham..

Sorry to be Off Topic, but seriously, UPPER Latham?

Sorry, no, just no..

I have dogs. Snakes want to bite dogs. I kill snake. Simple

set the backyard alight.. fire will make it run.. er.. slither away.

Yes I had the experience once, called the snake catcher, when I told him it went under the house, he just said call me when it’s come out, my neighbour caught the snake trying to eat him birds, of course he killed it, that god, it was a large brown snake, there is a certain lime that you can surround your yard with to keep them out, not sure what it’s called.

WTF! The ACT government won’t remove it? A highly dangerous animal and the ACT government won’t at least assist in it’s removal? Seriously, this government is so ‘effed up! Useless so and so’s….

Personally, I’d pay to get Kevin the snake catcher to dump it on John Stanhope’s front door – “Here mate… your problem now you dumb tool…”

Hi Thumper

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Thumper (Demagogue) 18:42, 06 Jan 10 Quote

“Come to think of it, I don’t want a kevin in my backyard either. To much spin and soaring rhetoric. I’d rather a snake, all least you know he means business”

And they don’t pontificate…but they’ve both got tempers….(not snake guy Kev though).

Sorry to be the purveyor of bad news but….
If you have ducks you’ll have grain, grain attracts mice (even if you haven’t seen any) and therefore, the brown snake. It may have had a feed and found somewhere cool to sleep and that maybe why you haven’t seen it….

Fingers crossed its moved on….

Thanks kuku… if he pops his head out and i can confirm he’s still there, i’ll give him a call..

Snakes don’t really worry me, but we have ducks, cats, dog, and there’s a kid next door who plays out in his back yard.

Come to think of it, I don’t want a kevin in my backyard either. To much spin and soaring rhetoric. I’d rather a snake, all least you know he means business 😉

we’ve cleaned up every little hiding place possible. Sprayed lots of water around, made lots of noise , and generally have made life unpleasant if you happen to be a snake. No point calling canberra connect on 132281, they’ll just tell you to spray it with water and that it will go away. Which is fine, except when they don’t go away. 😉

As for killing it? Yes, I’ve had the opportunity to do so but would rather not.

Thankfully we haven’t seen him for a few days, but then again, we’ve been at work.

You don’t want one in your back yard .

A snake that is, not a Kevin.

Maybe she has some eggs there that she is protecting and may not wish to leave until they are all turned in to babies.

Thats the answer Thumper – need your Rivers mates to spray it with water…from a 65mm hose. That will get rid of it and a lot of other things in your backyard too.

Skidbladnir said :

Brown snakes are actually very affectionate creatures, but their ‘bite’ is terribly misunderstood by society.
They are simply trying to hug you with their mouths.

This message was brought to you by TAMS

You’re a funny guy! Skid!

Pommy bastard2:21 pm 06 Jan 10

Introduce it to cfi’s goanna; http://the-riotact.com/?p=17234

Death match!!!

Here in upper Latham, we have signs spread around the place to tell us what to do with snakes. See http://picasaweb.google.com/xemoth/Signs#5419748895915999634

Just phone 132281

They are pretty prolific at the moment, see them heading down to the creek to get a drink in this hot weather.

Thumper – if the WIRES group conduct snake removal training, I’m guessing they can remove snakes themselves? Perhaps the offer of a decent donation to that organisation might avoid the need for you to engage your shovel?? Let me know what you find out!

Brown snakes living in your yard is a worry Thumper; especially if you have pets or small children that visit or live there.

Queanbeyan Fireys have recently been trained in safe snake removal methods; http://www.emergency.nsw.gov.au/download.php?id=631 I wonder if they might be able to assist over the border, if asked very nicely? Probably not, but I also wonder if our ACT Fireys might have had the same training? Worth investigating. You could also contact WIRES and see if they can recommend somebody locally? I’m sure there must be others in your situation thumper – and if not, what an opportunity for an enterpising individual!

You need to spice your water in such a way that you don’t piss the snake off (ie. no chilli, lemon juice or petrol)

Cinnamon oil, clove oil and eugenol are effective snake repellents

Following the govt advice and encouraging the snake to move on (possibly into a neighbouring property) is hardly the responsible path. What happens if the snake then bites your neighbour? This is abdication of municipal responsibilities of the worst order.
I’d suggest bureaucratic agitation.

amarooresident212:52 pm 06 Jan 10

This is the advice from TAMS


The thrust of it is – leave them alone and they will move on. No one is encouraging people to get rid of snakes themselves.

If the snake decides to take up residence though you would appear to be stuffed.

A long shovel, used quickly, will make the problem go away.

As an added benefit, http://www.fort.usgs.gov/resources/education/bts/resources/recipes/fried_snake.asp

That’s insane – who the hell decided that it was a good idea for people to get rid of snakes themselves rather than getting rangers to do it?

Honestly, that’s about the most stupid thing I’ve heard in a long time: it’s the sort of decision that leads to deaths.

Brown snakes are actually very affectionate creatures, but their ‘bite’ is terribly misunderstood by society.
They are simply trying to hug you with their mouths.

This message was brought to you by TAMS

A shovel will sort it out. I am from regional NSW and this is how people deal with it there. Who the hell is going to travel to a farm to remove a snake? Seems like things are just as difficult in the ACT. At least you tried doing the legal thing.

I hear Steven Conroy is interested in eliminating snakes; you might consider inviting him over to try to kill it

Did you tell them you have a child? (even if you don’t)

Telling a govt run agency that you have a child works wonders for removing snakes. My kid goes to a child care that had a brown snake in the vicinity, and it was removed pronto…not sure which group did that, but I can try to find out if necessary.

Did you ring the zoo and the snake man at gold creek?

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