South-west reptiles emerge with warmer weather

King skink
King skink Kim Williams, WA Parks and Wildlife

The Department of Parks and Wildlife is reminding people in the south-west to be aware that reptile activity is on the rise with warmer spring weather.

Parks and Wildlife south-west nature conservation officer Cassie Eikelboom said reptile encounters would increase as they emerged to bask in the sun, mate and search for food.

“Snakes and lizards are most active over the next few months and we are experiencing a sharp rise in the number of calls from concerned residents who come across a snake or lizard,” she said.

“The department recommends people take extra care when venturing outdoors, particularly near swamps, lakes and bushland and do not approach or aggravate snakes in any way.

“Snakes are an integral part of the natural environment and play an important role in wildlife ecosystems. Snakes will normally try to avoid humans so it is best to be aware and take precautions such as wearing long pants and enclosed shoes while walking along bush trails.

“We have also been receiving reports of roadkill across the south-west, particularly snakes and bobtails. We ask people keep an eye out for these reptiles while driving.”

Mrs Eikelboom said most snake bites occurred when people tried to catch or kill a snake. She also urged dog owners to be particularly careful when walking their pets near wetlands and bushland as dogs rarely survive a venomous snake bite.

Residents can reduce the risk of having a snake in the backyard by keeping yards clear of long grass, discarded household rubbish and building materials, which provide snakes with shelter.

“Outdoor aviaries often attract snakes, so keeping the aviaries and surrounding area free from discarded bird seed will deter the snake’s favourite prey items, such as rats and mice,” she said.

Venomous snakes, including dugites and tiger snakes, can be found throughout the south-west. Both species hunt small mammals, frogs and lizards, and are active during the day and at night in warm weather. Other larger reptiles commonly seen at this time of the year include king skinks and bobtails.

If you are concerned about a snake on your property, bring your children and pets inside. You can also contact Parks and Wildlife’s Wildcare Helpline on 9474 9055 for details of licensed operators who can safely remove and relocate snakes.

It is also important to remember that in Western Australia, a licence is required to keep reptiles and amphibians as pets. This measure is in place to ensure such animals receive the specialised care they require. Reptiles and amphibians can only be obtained from licensed dealers. For more information visit www.dpaw.wa.gov.au or contact the Parks and Wildlife Bunbury office on (08) 9725 4300.

Media contact: Parks and Wildlife Media 9219 9999

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