Life Science Environment Coronavir-hissss: Snake scares soar for locked-down garden buffs

Coronavir-hissss: Snake scares soar for locked-down garden buffs

Snake catcher Raymond Hoser gets up close and personal with one of his, er, clients. Photo: Raymond Hoser/Twitter
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While the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the national economy and plunged many into unemployment, there’s one little industry expecting to boom – snake catching.

Melbourne’s Raymond Hoser has been catching snakes professionally since the 1970s and says he’s about to be busier than ever.

“Because people are at home and they’re not out and about … we’ve got a perfect storm where people will see more snakes,” he told AAP.

The snake expert who runs Snakebusters, based in Melbourne’s east, says whiling away the hours in lockdown by mowing and gardening will increase the likelihood of spotting unwelcome reptiles.

“Everyone’s gardens look more immaculate than ever, but the flip side is, in long grass, you won’t even see the snake,” he said.

The sunny weather on Saturday brought snakes out of hibernation and Mr Hoser was unusually busy.

Snakes turn up in the strangest places, like this Brisbane home invader. Photo: Snake Boss

He was called out for tiger snakes in Warrandyte, Eltham, Diamond Creek, Northcote, Abbotsford and Kew, and for a brown snake in Avondale Heights.

He also picked up a blue-tongue lizard at Avondale Heights.

The snake catcher expects call-outs to increase from now on, peaking at 20-30 call-outs a day by October.

Business was also unusually busy in March as lockdowns began and before winter saw Melbourne’s slithery citizens curl up and take it easy in the cold.

Most snakes in Melbourne are deadly so Mr Hoser urges caution.

“If you see a snake don’t go near it. Nine times out of ten if they’re in your garden they’re passing through,” he said.

“Without treatment, you’re likely to die. With treatment, you probably won’t die.”

The best practice for treating a suspected snake bite by the Australian Resuscitation Council is:

  • Send for an ambulance.
  • Keep the person immobilised, reassured and under constant observation.
  • Apply pressure bandaging with immobilisation.
  • Sudden collapse with cardiac arrest requires immediate CPR

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