Common snakes in Aussie gardens
Australia has around 140 species of land snakes, with less than 100 being venomous and only 12 that have the potential to kill you. While not many actually pose a threat, it can be tricky to identify which snake is which, and the one that may be in your garden could be one of the dangerous ones!
Billy Collett explains that “the most common snakes that can appear in your backyard would be diamond pythons, red-bellied black snakes and common green tree snakes.”
The red bellied black snake has the most frequent encounters with humans, and can release a venom when biting, which can induce mild to severe symptoms of poisoning. Diamond pythons are not dangerous in the slightest and are usually found in large expanses of bushland. And the common green tree snake is the nicest of all, with no bite or venom – they usually prefer to slither quickly away from any threats.
Key signs you have a snake or snake nest in your yard:
There are a couple of clues that may arouse suspicion, enough to start putting in snake repelling devices or snake repellent plants in for safety. The five key signs that you may have a snake in your garden are:
Billy Collett from Australian Reptile Park states that the most obvious sign a snake is in your yard would be snake skin or shedding lying around. Snakes, on average, shed around 4 times per year, but that number could be up to 10-12 depending on the species.
They usually shed their skin all in one go, usually in a long sheet. If you spot a snake skin anywhere near an entrypoint to a crawl space, under the foundations of your house or in your backyard, you’ve most likely got a snake cohabiting with you.
As gross as it sounds, snake poo is another sign you may have a snake in your garden. This one is much harder to spot though. Snake droppings usually resemble bird faeces, however, you may find that snake droppings have small bones or feathers inside them (ew!) which is a great way to identify them.
Hearing a distressed frog at night can be pretty common. However, Neil Mellon says that "Frogs are on the menu for many snakes, coming out at night to hunt. If you hear frogs screaming at night it may be due to a snake."
Slither tracks may not be easy to spot in a large garden or outdoor space, especially with a lot of plants or shrubbery. If a snake frequents your garden very often, slither tracks may begin to appear. Flattened plants may be a good indication of this. Neil Mellon warns to "Be careful not to mistake a wallaby tail mark as they look similar."
Dogs barking at your garden
Snake catcher Neil Mellon talks of the benefit of owning a dog:
"One benefit of owning dogs is their ability so sniff out snakes and scare them away. If you notice your dog sniffing around and barking at a particular area of your garden it may be something harmless like a lizard, toad or rat, or it could be a snake. If your dog does find a snake, try and keep it away until you can get the snake removed."
Do snakes damage your garden?
Luckily, snakes pose no threat to your garden itself, as Billy Collett explains that “snakes cannot poison plants in any way.”
However, be warned for your weaker or more fragile plants as “a large enough python that is finding shelter amongst your garden bed could definitely flatten your plants.”
Snake prevention in your garden
Australian Reptile Park has some sage advice when it comes to preventing a snake from choosing your home to live in:
Especially coming into the warmer weather, more snakes are on the move and can venture into your garden. To limit the chance of a snake finding shelter in your backyard, we'd suggest the following:
- Keep rubbish piles in backyards to a minimum
- Remove any leaf matter that is laying around amongst your garden beds
- Keep your lawn frequently mowed
- Make sure you have rubber seals around your doors so unwanted creatures have less of a chance of getting into your house
Snake catcher Neil Mellon's advice? 'Make your property very uncomfortable for them!" This is done by following the steps above and keeping your house and garden clean and tidy so there is no where for a snake to snuggle in.
What to do if you have found a snake
If you spot a snake while you’re out in the garden, it is always best to not approach it and back away slowly. If it was a single encounter, and the snake appears to have slithered away or left the area, there may be no need to call a snake catcher to remove it.
If you suspect a snake or snake nest has been in your garden for a while, it is definitely recommended to contact your local snake catcher to remove the snake safely. Neil Mellon recommends to "try to keep an eye on where it is while you wait for the snake catcher so you can direct them straight to the snake."
Snake catchers are professional snake handlers, and understand the risks, precautions and steps you need to take for safe snake removal. Do not, under any circumstances, attempt to move or kill a snake yourself.