A mouse plague in regional New South Wales following years of drought has provided ample fodder for a fanged fauna population boom.
And now floodwaters have forced these snakes to higher ground, which have meant a number of locations are now experiencing a new and potentially deadly plague.
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NSW Farmers Rural Affairs Committee member Sarah Thompson said: “Everyone’s trying to stay dry and the snakes are no exception.”
“We know snakes aren’t generally trying to hurt us or our animals, but coming closer together because of flooding increases the risk of an attack for humans and animals,” she said.
A NSW Farmers Association spokesperson told 7NEWS.com.au: “The recent mouse plague provided plenty of food for the state’s snake numbers, with reports of an increase in size and numbers.”
And the warmer months are creating the perfect conditions for snakes to breed, Australian Reptile Park head of venom and reptiles Billy Collett told 7NEWS.com.au.
“All their stars have aligned. They’ve got great environmental conditions, there’s lots of food, lots of shelter – and they’re going to be breeding,” he said.
Thompson said that one of her members has “seen three black snakes near her place in a really short space of time, and it’s been like this for a while, they’re just trying to escape the water like we all are”.
She’s not the only one. “This is happening everywhere,” she said.
“We’ve heard recently about livestock being lost to snakes because some farms are more like islands than paddocks, and they can’t get to a vet,” Thompson said.
Author of kids’ books on country life Jo McKinnon recently had a scare when her dog Pippi was bitten by a deadly brown snake in Quirindi, about 60km south of Tamworth.
McKinnon said after being treated at Quirindi Veterinary Clinic, Pippi had “pulled through” and was “on the mend”. She said the bite was “a lesson for us all about the harsh cards life in the bush can deal on occasion”.
“Snakes are most venomous after hibernation,” Quirindi Veterinary Clinic said. “That’s now.”
Six hundred kilometres south, Junee Vet also said reported a rise in snakebite-related admissions from as early as November.
“Although the weather has barely begun to warm up our clinic has already treated a number of snake bite patients,” it said.
“Snake envenomation is an unfortunately common occurrence this time of year, and our furry friends are especially vulnerable.
“Lower to the ground and spending more of their time outside, our pets need our help to protect them against the dangers that lurk in the grass.”
Thompson said the best advice is “to keep lawns short and avoid piling up household items”.
“People just need to use some common sense, keep an eye out and be extra careful!”
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