A plague of mice in the New South Wales region after years of drought has provided ample food for a boom in fanged fauna.
And now floodwaters have forced these snakes to higher ground, leaving a number of locations now facing a new and potentially deadly plague.
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Sarah Thompson, a member of the NSW Farmers Rural Affairs Committee, said: “Everyone is trying to stay dry and the snakes are no exception.”
“We know that snakes generally don’t try to harm us or our animals, but when they move closer together due to flooding, the risk of an attack for humans and animals increases,” she said.
A spokesman for the NSW Farmers Association told 7NEWS.com.au: “The recent infestation of mice has provided ample food for the state’s snake numbers, with reports of increases in both size and numbers.”
And the warmer months create the perfect conditions for snakes to breed, Billy Collett, head of Venom and Reptiles at Australia’s Reptile Park, told 7NEWS.com.au.
“All their stars have aligned. They have great environments, there’s plenty of food, lots of shelter — and they’ll breed,” he said.
Thompson said that one of their members “saw three black snakes near her house in a very short period of time and has been for a while, they’re just trying to escape the water like we all are.”
She’s not the only one. “It happens everywhere,” she says.
“We’ve heard recently that livestock have been lost to snakes because some farms are more like islands than paddocks and they can’t reach a vet,” Thompson said.
The author of children’s books about country life, Jo McKinnon, was recently stricken when her dog Pippi was bitten by a deadly brown snake in Quirindi, about 60km south of Tamworth.
McKinnon said after being treated at the Quirindi Veterinary Clinic, Pippi “pulled through” and was “on the mend.” She said the bite was “a lesson for all of us about the tough cards that life in the bush can occasionally deal”.
“Snakes are most venomous after hibernation,” said the Quirindi Veterinary Clinic. “That is now.”
Six hundred kilometers south, Junee Vet also said that a spike in snakebite-related admissions was reported back in November.
“Although the weather has barely warmed up, our clinic has already treated a number of snakebite patients,” it said.
“Unfortunately, snake envenomation is common this time of year, and our furry friends are particularly susceptible.
“Our pets are lower to the ground and spend more time outdoors. They need our help to protect them from the dangers lurking in the grass.”
Thompson said the best advice is to “keep the lawn short and avoid piling up household items.”
“People just need to use some common sense, keep their eyes open and be extra careful!”
https://7news.com.au/news/snakes/stars-have-aligned-for-snakes-as-dangerous-new-plague-grips-new-south-wales-c-9147153 ‘Stars have aligned with snakes’ as a dangerous new plague sweeps New South Wales