Snake Encounter

You’ve just encountered a snake!

A red-bellied black snake (Pseudechis porphyriacus) that was found by a Canberra woman in her work boot!

What should you do?

Keep calm, try and not move suddenly or erratically. Remember: despite what you might think, feel or have heard, snakes are NOT out to get you. In fact, quite the opposite. From the snake’s perspective, you’re a big dangerous predator, and their default inclination is to flee from a potentially adverse confrontation with you (or your pet) using speed and stealth. It is only when these defensive options are unavailable, and you – or some other agent – directly interfere with or threaten the animal, that the snake might get agitated, either by hissing and posturing, or by actually striking out toward the threat.

Depending on the environment and context in which the snake is encountered, follow instructions in the diagram below:

Flow chart outlining advisable courses of action on encountering a snake.
  1. If you are in a confined space and the snake is within striking distance, remain calm and completely still. It will likely move on, enabling you to carefully and slowly distance yourself from it.
  2. If there is a suitable distance (i.e. +2 metres) between you and snake, carefully and very slowly move away from the snake or give it a wide berth if it is basking in the sun, etc. Remember, the snake doesn’t want a confrontation with you and perceives you as the threat!
  3. Keep pets and children away from the snake and try not to disturb or agitate it.
  4. If the snake is encountered inside, try and confine the snake to the room it is seen in e.g. the kitchen, living room etc., ideally by closing the door and putting wet towels or similar materials flush along the bottom of any adjoining doors so it cannot vacate the area.
  5. If it is possible/safe to do so, keep an eye on the snake’s potential exit points.
  6. If the snake is encountered outdoors, e.g. in a yard, where possible please keep a continuous eye on the snake from a safe distance as this will maximise our chances of safely removing it. Try and not disturb or agitate the snake by moving erratically or getting all distressed. Most of our local snakes are acutely attuned to movement, and can move and disappear aquickly.
  7. Call or text ACT Snake Removals on 0450 210 090 as soon as you’ve created a safe distance from the snake. You can also message us via Facebook.
  8. If it is safe to do so, photograph the snake and send the image to us.
  9. Keep your phone with you as we will likely call you to offer arrival information and reassurance.
  10. If possible, arrange to have another person answer the door as soon as we arrive so that you can continue to monitor the snake. This makes our job very easy!
An eastern brown snake in defensive mode – unsurprising, given that Gavin is holding it and the bag to the snake is a threat.
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