The beginning of the 2018 summer on Charles Darwin Reserve (CDR) saw an unprecedented increase in snake sightings around the homestead and visitor’s quarters. In total there were six sightings over a period of two weeks. The most exciting for me personally was when I almost stepped on a Dugite (Pseudonaja affinis) only metres from our back door.
Knowing that my 18-month-old son would just love to play with a friendly looking stick that could move, I jumped at the chance to attend a venomous snake handling course while in Perth. Relocating these inquisitive critters will also be necessary for keeping the many visitors to CDR safe in the summer months.
The course was well run by Animal Ark and was structured in a way that prioritised practical experience and first aid training, which was all good fun. We released and caught a number of snakes to get the methods down pat, then a scenario was set up in which two of their most aggressive snakes (Fluffy and George) were hidden in a heated office (just to make sure they were nice and active) and we had to find them, catch them and bag them. Great fun!
Although I had covered snake bite first aid in courses before, it was interesting to learn just how effective the standard first aid measures can be.
Did you know that although people still die from snake bites in Australian (average around 2 per year) nobody that employed first aid measures (applying a compression bandage immediately, moving as little as possible and getting medical assistance as quickly as possible) has died from a snake bite in Australia? A reassuring fact to be sure.
Since doing the course there hasn’t been one sighting on the reserve. So there you have it – taking the course obviously worked!