Tidy up gardens, sheds to keep snakes away

A western brown snake. Photo: Shutterstock.
A western brown snake. Photo: Shutterstock.

Raymond Davis worries about snakes, and for good reason.

The Murray Bridge resident saw his kitten run inside with something in its mouth during a recent spell of hot weather.

It was a brown snake he estimated to be eight inches long, which he guessed had come from the untidy garden of one of his neighbours where he had long feared they were breeding.

The problem was that he could not find anyone willing to find out for sure.

He phoned Housing SA and the Murray Bridge council, but said both told him calling a snake catcher was not their responsibility.

When he phoned a catcher himself, he was told nothing could be done unless the snakes were on his property.

Mr Davis said he had grown up in rural Western Australia and understood the need to leave snakes alone.

But he said he worried about his other neighbours.

"The houses behind me have three and four kids under 12; one has a pool, one has an aviary," he said.

"This is a house, all across the street there are just houses ... it's not in a reserve, it's in someone's backyard.

"Someone has got to do something."

In South Australia, snakes are protected under the National Parks and Wildlife Act, though humanely killing them is legal if they have attacked a person.

The Department of Environment and Water recommends guarding against them by reducing their access to food, water and shelter:

  • Store bird seed or pet food in a sealed container to avoid attracting rodents
  • Turn compost heaps regularly, and do not put food scraps or eggshells into them
  • Keep grass cut short
  • Store wood in a shed with a concrete floor
  • Do not leave corrugated iron or drop sheets lying on the ground
  • Check your boots before putting them on
  • Plant ground cover instead of bushes and shrubs
  • Keep clear areas around fish ponds or swimming pools

If you see a snake, do not attempt to catch or kill it.

Instead, stay away and watch it from a safe distance while you call a snake catcher.

If a snake gets inside your house, close internal doors if possible, blocking up any gaps underneath, and open external exits.