13 December 2021

Wet summer to bring more snake and pest activity

| Max O'Driscoll
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Luke Dunn and an Eastern Brown Snake

Luke Dunn with the largest snake Canberra Snake Rescue and Relocation has moved this season, a female Eastern Brown measuring a whopping 1582 mm. Photo: Facebook.

If you have a pathological fear of spiders and snakes, it may not be the summer to head into the great outdoors.

With a wet season ahead, Canberra’s pest experts are warning that creepy crawlies, snakes and rodents could be bigger than ever as the entire ecosystem is enjoying the surplus of food on offer.

Luke Dunn from Canberra Snake Rescue and Relocation says that while it hasn’t been the busiest season for snake callouts so far, the snakes are out there and will have to come out at some point.

“In Canberra, we are mainly dealing with the Eastern Brown Snake. Although we do get a few other species, the Eastern Brown Snake is the most commonly encountered, particularly in a suburban ecosystem here in the ACT,” said Mr Dunn.

“Although they’re very adaptable, they don’t tend to like it when it’s too wet, so they just spend a little bit more time in their holes and in their crevasses.

“When we’re getting consistent wet weather, they’ve got to come out at some point. We still get calls when it’s a little bit wet, but because it is a wetter season, much like it was last season, we’re not expecting to be smashed with calls,” he said.

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What it does mean is that when the drier periods do occur, the snakes are more likely to be seen.

“It’s just the snakes taking their opportunity to get out and about, be active, go hunting and do what they’ve got to do,” said Mr Dunn.

“Obviously, they are ectothermic so they can’t control their core temperatures, so they do rely on basking and then sitting in the shady, cool areas to control their core temperature.”

For snakes, there aren’t necessarily any foolproof deterrents. However, short, tidy lawns can help provide a clean line of sight and increase the likelihood of seeing snakes should they make it into your yard.

READ ALSO Heavy regional rainfall has Lake George as full as its been since 2017

As for pests, Quality One Pest Control owner Michael Devries says that there’s been some peculiar activity from Canberra’s rodents and insects over the last couple of months, with a rise in rodent activity this late in the year central to that.

With the region heading deeper into summer and more rain expected in the extended forecast, Mr Devries believes an increase in termites, ants and big spiders could all become part of the 2021/22 summer.

“I think termites are going to be big because there’s a lot of moisture from all the rain, and obviously, if there’s timber underneath the subfloor, the subfloors are moistured, it’s going to attract a lot of termites,” said Mr Devries.

“Another one is ants. Ants get really active when it’s humid, and there’s been a lot of ants in people’s houses at the moment because there are little ants that like to live in wall cavities.

“The rain just seems to bring everything to life, and there’s been a lot of spiders. I did a house two weeks ago and they reckon they saw the biggest whitetail, and I do believe them because some of the spiders I’ve seen have been huge. There are plenty of good food sources for them, and everything just keeps growing,” he said.

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