BE careful and cautious around your house and yard, with snake season hitting the Mid North Coast early this year.
Warmer weather, despite it still being winter, has brought with it several sightings of snakes in the area.
On the Mid North Coast there are 23 different species of snakes, with the most common being the brown snake and the red-bellied black snake - both venomous.
Stuart Johnson is the Billabong and Koala Wildlife Park’s head of reptiles and an expert when it comes to reptiles.
“Snakes are as afraid of us as we are of them,” he said.
“A snake will bite if they are going for a food source and, of course, humans are too big to be considered food to them.
“Another is if snake doesn’t like what is happening, such as people attacking it, trying to move it or trying to kill it, which is commonly what happens.”
Apart from those two scenarios, Mr Johnson said a snake is not likely to attack a human.
A snake will give many warning signs that it is not happy, often by flattening out the neck, moving about erratically and releasing a musky scent.
The combination of the hot weather as well as the active mating cycles means that an influx of snakes is expected at this time of the year and moving forward to summer.
Mr Johnson said it is very important to be aware of simple things around the house, such as wheelie bins, logs and rocks.
If you see a snake you need to stay really still and perhaps try and move back very slowly until it disappears.Stuart Johnson
Keeping your garden tidy is clean is a major thing you can do, as well as carefully checking under the bin and pulling rocks and items towards you, which will allow the snake a quick escape in the opposite direction.
“They will certainly be around so it is important for people to be aware,” he said.
“If you see a snake you need to stay really still and perhaps try and move back very slowly until it disappears.
“Prevention is the best way to go, so ensure that pets and rubbish are kept under control. If not then that can bring in rodents which will in turn bring in the snakes as it is a food source for them.”
Mr Johnson also said that snakes are extremely adaptable to the environment and love to hide in dark and obscure places.
If you are bitten by a snake, the best thing to do is keep perfectly still and cover as much of the limb as possible with a compression bandage before dialling triple-0.
Mr Johnson has published a book on the reptiles, examining each of the species found in the Mid North Coast region.
His book and medical snake bite kits are available to purchase through his website at www.reptilesolutions.com.au