Dugite
Dugite. Photo Ann Storrie

In spring and summer, many reptiles emerge to bask in the sun. During this time you should take precautions to minimise the chance of encountering snakes.

Remember, snakes are an integral part of the natural environment and play an important role in wildlife ecosystems.

Common snakes around Perth

Dangerously venomous dugites and tiger snakes are common in the metropolitan area. Both species hunt small mammals, frogs and lizards, and are active during the day and at night in warm weather.

  • Tiger snakes (Notechis scutatus) are most common in vegetation around wetland areas, but may be found well away from water. They are seen throughout the year sunning themselves in open areas.
  • Dugites (Pseudonaja affinis) are most common in the drier bushland areas around Perth, especially grasslands. These fast-moving snakes are attracted to aviaries and other locations where mice can be found.

Precautions

  • Take care in bushland and grassy areas.
  • Walk and/or cycle in cleared areas only, where you can see the ground.
  • When bushwalking, wear long trousers and boots or other enclosed footwear that preferably cover the ankles.
  • Keep a watchful eye on the ground about a metre ahead of where you are walking, and avoid entering areas of long grass, rushes and undergrowth.
  • Around your home remove long grass and items lying on the ground such as corrugated iron, which may provide cover for snakes.
  • Reduce mice numbers around the house.
  • Learn the correct treatment for snakebite. (First aid information from St John.)

If you find a snake

Do not approach or aggravate it in any way. Most bites occur when people accidentally step on snakes, or while attempting to kill them. As the warmer days of spring approach, snakes become more active as they leave their winter retreats in search of a mate and food.

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If you find a snake in a garden or a house, contact Wildcare Helpline (08) 9474 9055 to be referred to a volunteer reptile remover. If volunteers are unavailable, there are commercial snake removal services. Advice can be provided by phoning the Department of Parks and Wildlife on (08) 9219 9840.

The department also has information about keeping reptiles as pets. If you are interested in snakes and other reptiles, contact the West Australian Herpetological Society.