White Crown snake
White Crown snake Contributed

Debunking common snake myths

FIRST up, lets look at skins or "sloughs" that snakes shed. When they initially come off the shed is mainly transparent, with no colouration. Over time it will slowly turn to a kind of brownish colour. They almost never have any trace pattern from the owner, making them a difficult tool to identify anything other than the approximate size of the snake. So if you see a brown snake skin, it is no guarantee that it came off a brown coloured snake.

Next misconception. A snake is not a territorial creature and does not have an area and boundary which they "defend" like other animals (the only thing they will defend is themselves against perceived predators).

Instead snakes have an area or "home range" they move within (we always relocate a snake within its range). This varies in size depending on the species and can be up to several kilometres square. This contains several spots they travel between in search of food and shelter.

 

FILE PHOTO: A man presented to the Nanango Hospital after a snake bite them.
LEAVE ALONE: A red belly black snake slithers through the grass. Norm Farmer

Note however that if you've got a single spot that has ample food and shelter, it will stay put until that habitat is not suitable anymore. I want to clarify two things from part one in an effort to avoid contributing any more myths towards snakes.

Red-bellied black snakes do prey on other snakes, such as eastern brown Snakes, however they will not "keep them away" as incorrectly typed. Also, an eastern brown does not have a prehensile tail, is non-arboreal (lives in trees) and lacks any true climbing ability. That being said, they have been known to get up onto objects such as benches and even climb up stairs. So don't assume if a snake is off the ground that its not an eastern brown.

 

Snakes of the Fraser Coast.
Coastal taipans are found on the North Coast of NSW. Contributed

Give all snakes space, leave them alone and contact WIRES either on 1 3000 WIRES, through our website wires.org.au or through our WIRES smartphone app.

If you'd like to join WIRES, please contact us, we have an introductory course in Grafton on March 11.