Few creatures polarise opinion quite like snakes. Some folks love them, others run screaming at the mention of them, and there are those who think the only good snake is a dead one. Fact is, if you live in far north Queensland, sooner or later, you’re going to encounter one. What happens next is largely up to you.
The odds are in your favour. Most of the snakes you’ll meet here are not venomous. Yes – they bite, and you’ll need to treat the bite carefully to prevent a nasty bacterial infection. But it won’t kill you. We do have venomous snakes, but knowing how to behave around them will generally keep you safe. And knowing how to treat a bite is an essential part of your FNQ safety drill. We don’t use razor blades or tourniquets any more – this is how it’s done.
We’ve got pythons, black snakes, browns, taipans, death adders, tree snakes, slatey greys – 43 species just in the wet tropics area and that’s about 30% of Australian snakes represented up here. Most snakes go out of their way to avoid humans, but they can be a danger to pets (especially the back yard chook) and kids. There are steps you can take to reduce risk, without harming snakes, and there are plenty of trained people around Cairns who will come and remove a snake for you, often at no cost.
This Sunday, Lyall Naylor will be talking about snakes at the Mount Molloy Community Hall at 10am. Lyall has been working with snakes for decades now, at Taronga Zoo in Sydney and the Australian Reptile Park with renowned Australian herpetology pioneer Eric Worrell
More recently, Lyall’s been working in the lush tropics north of Cairns. He says snakes generally don’t bite people. People get bitten by snakes.