SLIPPERY SITUATION: Mark Shephardson has had multiple run-ins with deadly snakes.
SLIPPERY SITUATION: Mark Shephardson has had multiple run-ins with deadly snakes. MIKE RICHARDS

Resident worried child will be bitten as snakes move in

TAIPANS, king browns and pythons in the cupboard - Mark Shephardson's property is alive with snakes.

So bad is the issue, the West Gladstone resident hangs a snake skin on his fence as a warning to others and as a message to council that nearby bushland needs maintenance.

Mr Shephardson's home backs on to Auckland Creek, an area which is commonly used as a walkway for school children.

He is worried a child will be bitten.

"I've lived here for 11 years and only twice has the council excavated the creek," he said.

"It's completely overgrown and is a breeding hub for snakes."

"I've contacted the council many times about it and no answer; it's a joke."

This week Mr Shephardson found a two-metre snake skin in his yard.

"In the last couple of months I've had taipans underneath the house, a baby python in the cupboard and king browns," he said.

"There've been 10 in total. I'm going to hang this skin on my fence to serve as a warning to kids passing by.

"(Children) play in the tunnel all the time, in swamp-like conditions which are perfect for snakes," he said.

Don't be complacent, snake catcher warns

Snake catcher Ben said residents should not be complacent around snakes.

He said the Gladstone region's most venomous snakes were the eastern brown, the coastal taipan, the southern death adder, the black whip and the red-belly black.

Ben said the snake season was slowing down.

"In autumn/winter they basically stay in their hides," he said.

"It's not quite hibernation because they do still come out to sun themselves, but they're not too active."

Ben recommended that if locals felt that a snake was becoming territorial and frequenting a hiding spot near their house, they should call professional snake catchers.

Gladstone Regional Council took two weeks to response to The Observer's request for information.

When they did respond, the council's planning and environment director Leisa Dowling said the drain batter on the footpath side, adjacent to the residential properties, would be inspected next week to see what works were required and when they would be undertaken.

"But it is important to note that the region has a large open drain network and it is not financially feasible to conduct regular slashing of the entire system," she said.

How to keep snakes at bay:

  • If you see a snake close by, it is best to stand still but do not be afraid to call for help because snakes cannot hear.
  • Snakes often find enty through torn fly screens. Kids' toys and boxes with toys or shoes could also hide snakes.
  • Don't leave pets' food bowls near an entrance to the house. Even empty bowls could attract rats, mice, lizards and frogs which, in turn, can attract snakes.
  • Self-watering pot plants make great homes for snakes.
  • Have a good first aid kit where it can be easily accessed. The most important item in the kit is a pressure bandage; people who apply a pressure bandage soon after a bite have a good chance of surviving.

YOUR VIEWS: Do you have a snake problem? Let us know by contacting 4970 3027 or rosie.obrien@gladstoneobserver.com.au.


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