BE THE BIGGER MAN: Snake catcher’s warning to worriers
DROUGHT may bring snakes closer to your backyard, but that’s no excuse for senseless violence says Southern Downs snake catcher.
Stanthorpe Snake Relocation’s Drew Godfrey received 17 calls over the past fortnight asking him to help rehome unwelcome visitors.
“Last summer, I had an average of 10 calls per week. Now that more people know I’m around and because of drought, I’m expecting to top that,” he said.
According to Mr Godfrey, in drier times, snakes detected water with their tongues and instinctively headed in that direction, which in most cases meant towards houses and human life.
Just this week, Mr Godfrey dealt with a carpet python who was living inside a chook shed.
The battle between re-locator and reptile left Mr Godfrey with several puncture wounds, not that he complained.
“I went in expecting that to happen, when you take a snake by the head you have to be ready for it to bite, and a python is the most likely snake to bite,” he said.
“I fully knew I would come away looking like that. It looks much worst than it was.”
The incident is one of the rare occasions in Mr Godfrey’s career where a snake bit him and he warned residents to not be unnecessarily frightened of the species.
“If people saw what I saw, I wouldn’t even have a job. They’re not monsters, we need to change the mindset from fear to respect,” he said.
“There’s no such thing as an aggressive snake, only defensive, people think they chase you but it’s not true … They’re just trying to escape.”
Fearmongering and a lack of education were a huge concern for the snake catcher as he worried an increase in sightings would drive unnecessary killings and threaten a delicate ecosystem.
“Be the bigger man and don’t resort to violence. Snakes are so important to biodiversity and if you take them away, the ecosystem will collapse,” he said.
“Every time you kill a brown snake, you rob a bird of food, and especially in drought, kookaburras and magpies need to have something to eat.”
If you see a snake on your property and are concerned, Mr Godfrey advises residents to give a professional re-locator a call.
If in the line of a snake, stay calm and still until the snake moves away.
You can contact Mr Godfrey on 0458 491 123.