Snake Season in Australia
3 October 2022
Snake season in Australia - September to April
When the weather warms up and spring arrives, we begin to see snakes emerge from their brumate period. Brumation, which is a form of dormancy in reptiles, it is similar to hibernation.
Because snakes require a stable temperature to regulate their bodies, snakes spend the winter underground to keep their bodies at around 25 degrees. When the weather is colder, snakes will burrow in the ground or sleep under a log and emerge only to eat, drink or metabolise.
Snakes can go months without eating, but they must come out to drink water. The brumation period can last anywhere from one to eight months, depending on a variety of factors such as air temperature, reptile size, age, and health.
In Australia, snake season typically runs from September/October to April, depending on region or state. Spring is also the season when many snakes mate. The gestation period (depending on the breed) for the juvenile snakes to hatch is approximately 8-11 weeks after the female snake lays her eggs. In Victoria, for example, the Brown Snake lays eggs in late spring/early summer.
Some snakes, like mammals, give birth to living young. This is appropriate for the Australian Tiger Snake, which can be found in many states. They can give birth to 20 to 30 young at the end of summer or beginning of autumn. Immediately after birth, the children become self-sufficient and no longer require their parents. Although some babies may initially remain close to their mothers, adults snakes do not protect their young.
Therefore, as the temperature rises, you may see more snakes as they emerge from their deep slumber, warm their bodies in preparation for mating, and begin their search for food and water.
Snakes, on the lookout for prey such as mice, insects, and other small animals, have been known to cross or lie on warm roads, open areas, and even near your home. Sometimes snakes, whether they be hatchlings or adults, will seek refuge in infrastructure and housing because they are dark, damp, cool, and provide a variety of delicious menu options. This could include your attic or the space under your house.
There are measures you can take to prevent snakes from entering your home during the warmer months.
• Keep the vegetation around your home short, it will be less attractive to small animals and snakes.
• If you suspect a snake may frequent your neighbourhood, you should minimise or eliminate the snake’s potential food and shelter sources. Then you need to make it impossible for them to sustain themselves with food and shelter.
• Remove rubbish and debris from your yard.
• Create a clearing around your home.
• Plant native tress which attracts more snake-eating bird life.
• Remove water sources like ponds.
• Seal potential entrances to your home, livestock/chicken pens.
Snakes are not territorial. They may have a home range or a specific area that they frequent often for food and shelter, usually within a few kilometres. So, if the snake has nothing to do, there is less of an incentive or need for it to visit your home or surrounding area.
When you come across a snake, what should you do?
Leave it alone; snakes are generally shy creatures who will only attack if provoked or threatened. If you see the snake before it sees you, stay still and back away slowly if it doesn’t move toward you. Allow the reptile time to move away from you; if they are not threatened, they will usually do so.
If you find a snake in your home, do not try to remove or kill it. Instead, evacuate all people and pets from the area and try to contain the snake within one room by sealing the doors and windows with a towel.
Your family dog or cat may be curious or protective and wish to scare or attack the snake.
Remove them from the area to keep them safe. Snake bites can be extremely dangerous and, in some cases, fatal to pets and humans. Once you and your pets have been safely removed from the wild snake, contact your local snake keeper, wildlife services, or police to assist with the snake’s safe removal.
If you or your pet is bitten, seek medical attention right away. Make a detailed description of the type of snake it was, or take note of the colour of its head, tail, and body, so that you or your pet can receive the best and most accurate treatment and anti-venom.
If you live in an area where snakes are common during this time of year, it may be worthwhile to consider pet insurance for your dog, cat, horse, or exotic pet, which may come into contact with snakes inside or outside your home. Insuring your pet will help pay for medical expenses in the event of an unexpected snake bite or treatment.