As temperatures rise this spring a tragic incident has served as a reminder that snake season has arrived.
A Queensland man in his 60s died after he was believed to have been bitten by a snake at a community event on September 9 and suffered an apparent cardiac collapse.
However, his family has since revealed venom was not found his system and they believe he may have had an underlying health condition.
More than 500 people were hospitalised with venomous snake bites in 2021-22, according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.
He's expecting a busy snake season as the weather starts to heat up and snakes get on the move.
And with the landscape drying out and prey for snakes becoming harder to find, Mr Smith said more snakes may forage and inhabit urban backyards, coming into contact with people and pets.
Mr Smith said it was "fairly unremarkable" to encounter a snake in Australia.
"Our local venomous snakes are shy and sensitive by nature and are generally programmed to avoid confrontation with a bigger order predator, such as a human, cat or dog," he said.
"People are bitten as a result of getting too close to the snake, sometimes inadvertently but other times because they have tried to catch, contain or harm the snake."
So, if people do encounter a snake they should give it space so it doesn't feel threatened, allowing it to move away or for the person to safely move around and away from it.
When the snake is in a hazardous place such as a home it's best to leave it to the professionals by calling a snake handler for advice or to relocate it, Mr Smith said.
"If you find yourself in very close proximity to one it is important to remain still and calm for as long as you need to until the animal has moved away and out of striking range," he said.
A bite from a dangerously venomous species such as an eastern brown, tiger or red-bellied black snake should be treated as a medical emergency, Mr Smith said.
The first thing is to call for an ambulance and have the bite victim sit still on the ground, with their back against a wall, tree or someone else's back, he explained.
Then apply a compression bandage from the end of the limb, such as hand or foot, all the way to the armpit or groin.
"The limb should be splinted to avoid the person moving it, as it is muscle movement that increases the rate of lymphatic transport of venom," Mr Smith said.
"The bite site should then be circled on the bandage with a pen and the time of the bite incident documented."
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Mr Smith said the pet-snake conflict was "extremely difficult" to manage.
"It is hard to snake proof suburban and peri-urban properties effectively," he said.
Cat owners may choose to keep their feline friends contained as cats actively hunt reptiles such as potentially dangerous snakes.
For dog owners there are snake aversion courses or building a snake-proof run to use in the warmer months of the year, particularly if dogs are left to their own devices outside when no one is home.
And Mr Smith said keeping dogs on the lead while out walking was critical, with snakes often using the vegetation next to paths for thermoregulation or foraging.
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