About snakes in the Melbourne area
Residents in Merri-bek need to always be aware of the potential danger of coming across a snake, particularly in the summer months.
Snakes thrive in warm weather and are most active on warm nights, particularly during October to April. They are often found in bushy areas around creeks and in backyards near these creeks, usually in search of water, food and a place to hide.
The most frequently encountered snakes around Melbourne are tiger snakes and lowland copperheads.
How to avoid snakes
Snakes normally avoid people, but if they are disturbed or feel threatened, they may bite and are highly venomous.
To reduce the chance of encountering a snake around your home:
- keep grass very short and your garden well maintained, and
- remove piles of rubbish, rocks, timber, sheets of metal and building materials.
If clearing property or gardening, protect yourself by wearing gloves, solid footwear and an extra layer of clothing. Be aware that nooks and crannies can be a snake hiding place.
Open compost heaps attract rats and mice, which are a common food source for snakes.
Keep your dog away from long grass and bushy areas. Dogs are inquisitive animals and tend to sniff or nudge at snakes, without realising the danger.
What to do if you see a snake
In the event that you do come across a snake, never attempt to approach, handle, capture or kill it. Stay well away, keep calm and make sure children and pets also keep their distance.
A licensed snake handler is able to safely catch and remove the snake. If possible, watch where the snake goes so the snake catcher can find it.
For snake removal services:
- Look under 'snake catcher ' in the Yellow Pages
- Call the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning on 136 186, Monday to Friday 8 am - 6 pm, or
- Contact Council on 9240 1111 to receive contact details for a snake handler.
This is a private service that incurs a fee.
If you are bitten by a snake, dial 000 immediately.
Snakes are a protected species
Although we all need to be extremely careful around snakes, they are an important part of our environment and are a protected species under state law.
Most snake bites are a result of people trying to catch or kill snakes. Avoiding areas where snakes live and making sure that children respect and understand snakes can reduce risk.