Dec 06
curious french bulldog playing in the grass

Be Snake Aware to Protect Your Pet

Snakes are part of life in Australia and the warmer weather increases the chances of snake encounters for our pets. It’s so important to be well-informed and proactive in safeguarding your furry bestie.

Understanding the Risks
Many snake species call Australia home, but the Tiger (mainly southern Australia) and Brown (widespread) snakes are largely responsible for most of the bites of our pets in Oz.

Despite snakes generally avoiding confrontation, they will defend themselves if attacked or chased which sadly, is often the case in cat and dog encounters.

Snake Habits and Hotspots
Snakes tend to be found in areas near fresh water, including creeks or dams, as well as secluded spots like long grass, bush, sheds, roofs, and wood piles. Be snake aware and avoid these areas.

Be Snake Aware to Protect Your Pet
Follow these tips:

  • Leash Walking: Keep your pet close and on a leash during walks to minimise the risk of unexpected encounters.
  • Maintain Short Grass: Regularly trim the grass around your home to reduce snake hiding spots.
  • Choose Safe Walk Routes: Steer clear of tall grass and bush, especially in proximity to waterways.
  • Avoid Dead Snakes: Discourage your pet from interacting with deceased snakes, as residual venom can still be harmful.
  • Secure Sleeping Areas: Take steps to fortify sleeping spaces, so snakes can’t get in, and your pet can’t get out!
  • Food Management: Keep pet food away from sleeping quarters, as it can attract snakes.

Know Snake Bite Signs
Recognising the signs of a snake bite is essential. Signs depend on the snake time and amount of venom received. Signs can occur anywhere from 1 – 24 hours post the bite. The venom can stop the blood’s ability to clot (leading to excessive bleeding), it can destroy body tissue, and has the potential to cause fatality within an hour.

You may only notice one or a few of the following: vomiting, sudden collapse, dilated pupils, unwilling or unable to walk or move, trembling/shaking, and bleed in the urine or vomit. Act promptly if you observe any of these signs.

Dealing with Snake Encounters around the home:

  • Stay Calm: If you spot a snake, remain calm – the snake doesn’t want to hurt you or your pet.
  • Secure your Pet:  Minimise the risk of escalating the situation.
  • Call the Professionals: Never attempt to catch or harm the snake; instead, call a professional snake catcher in your area. Maintain a safe distance and keep an eye on the snake’s location, until help arrives. They can safely relocate the snake to a more appropriate area.

Suspect a Snake Bite?
If you suspect a snake has bitten your pet, please seek veterinary attention immediately, even if your pet appears to have recovered.

Stay calm, keep your pet as still as possible. Have someone call the clinic advising that you’re on the way so they can be prepared to look after your pet from the moment you arrive.

About The Author

Claire is a QLD graduate with 19 years experience as a neighbourhood Veterinarian in Australia and the UK. Animal lover and the founder of VetChat, born from a passion to help pet carers everywhere access trusted advice earlier, for healthier, happier pets. Grateful to be carer to her beautiful Red-dog.