Council has received an increased number of requests to remove snakes from residential properties and surrounding bushland after a warmer-than-average start to the spring.
Higher temperatures have prompted increased snake activity, resulting in more sightings and calls for assistance.
Council does not remove snakes or reptiles from public or private land and does not recommend attempting to handle them, however, a professional snake catcher can.
On Thursday, 2 November, the Community Environment Centre will host a FREE Snake Safety and Behaviour Workshop with Ravi Singh. Ravi is a wildlife rescuer and professional snake catcher from Sydney Wildlife, a rescue organisation that cares for sick, injured and orphaned native wildlife. Ravi joined Sydney Wildlife in 2015 as a volunteer and within a year, completed his training with professional snake catchers.
Ravi is now listed on the Department of Primary Industries’ Reptile Handler list, which is a list of operators allowed to legally catch and release reptiles (usually snakes) from commercial and residential homes and backyards.
At the Snake Safety and Behaviour Workshop, Ravi will teach participants about snake behaviour, their important role in the environment, what to do if they see a snake and how to treat a snake bite with basic first aid.
Focus caught up with Ravi for his insights into these amazing and misunderstood creatures:
Focus: What made you become a professional snake catcher?
Ravi: I always had a love for our native animals. I came to Australia when I was 12 years old from the Fiji Islands. Growing up as a kid in Kellyville, there was a lot of bushland and every day, I would witness lots of beautiful native animals and reptiles and I was fascinated by them.
The reason I became a wildlife carer/professional snake catcher is to educate and raise awareness about our wildlife. In today’s society, I have heard a lot of people say that some of our native animals like snakes are bad, that they don’t belong on their property and that we should kill them. I think we still need more education and awareness so that our community can foster a positive mindset towards our wildlife, so it is appreciated and respected.
Focus: What do you love about snakes? Do you have a favourite type of snake?
Ravi: They are just fascinating members of the reptile species, and they are extremely valuable for our ecosystem.
Snakes stop the spread of diseases, and in Australia, snakes and other reptiles also make up a significant proportion of the middle-order predators that keep our natural ecosystems working. Without them, the number of prey species would increase to unnatural levels, and the predators that eat snakes would struggle to find food.
My favourite type of snake is a Tiger Snake, but they’re all amazing – they can show such a seasonal variation of colours.
Focus: What is your advice for people if they come across a snake in their backyard or if they’re out and about?
Ravi: If you come across a snake inside your home or your backyard, call a professional snake catcher, and keep yourself, your children, and your pets indoors.
If you are out walking and see a snake, leave it alone and safely walk away. Snakes are generally shy and will not attack unless provoked.
Like most wild animals, snakes have a natural fear of humans. The saying, “they are more afraid of you than you are of them,” is 100 per cent true for snakes and they will do their best to avoid interactions with humans. If you are concerned about sighting snakes in your area, please contact wildlife groups such as Sydney Wildlife, WIRES or a professional snake catcher for advice.
To register for the Snake Safety and Behaviour Workshop with Ravi, visit: Snake Safety and Behaviour (nsw.gov.au)
For more information about upcoming workshops at the Community Environment Centre, visit: Environment Centre Events & Projects (nsw.gov.au)
All native snake species in NSW are protected under the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 and the harming of these animals including killing, injuring, or capturing the animal is prohibited under the Act. Only licensed reptile handlers can capture snakes and release them under strict conditions.