Community & Business

14 December, 2023

Snake season is here

SNAKES are becoming more active as the heat and humidity rise, prompting Mareeba snake catcher Jay Everdeen to warn locals to stay vigilant and be prepared.

By Ellie Fink

Close Encounter’s snake catcher Jay Everdeen is urging people to stay vigilant this snake season.
Close Encounter’s snake catcher Jay Everdeen is urging people to stay vigilant this snake season.

The region's rainforests, dense vegetation, and proximity to water creates an ideal habitat for these reptiles, leading to a higher chance of human-snake encounters this summer.

With some of the world’s deadliest snakes living in the region, locals are being urged not to interfere with them.

“Now is the time, especially in Mareeba, where it is bushy and dry, where you really have to look out for them on the roads and in your house and yard,” Jay said. 

“You will start seeing more snakes on the road now, which I can’t remove because it’s Crown land, but people need to be careful driving through.

“Even on my own street, I see them coming out of the bush or the neighbour's house and almost miss them.

“People need to go into their properties and move things around and make sure things are not hiding underneath but be careful not to get too close.”

Jay has seen firsthand the effects a snake bite from a venomous and nonvenomous snake has on a person’s body after being bitten by one himself.

“Even though he wasn’t venomous, it still really hurt. Once that jaw locks on, it’s hard to get off,” he said. 

“I had a mate who a venomous one bit, and today you can still see the lump on his hand … and I had a mate in Townsville who was bitten by one and lost the top of his finger to it.”

Like cyclone season, Jay says preparing your property for snake season can help deter them from hiding in your house or backyard. 

From moving palm fronds to emptying bird baths and boxes, he says many things we forget to do in our day-to-day lives are what attract snakes. 

He believes bird baths are one of the main attractions for snakes and has a theory it is because they can actually smell water. 

“I am convinced that snakes can smell water, and I know that from my own two pet snakes,” he said. 

“I see them when I put water out across the house, and they come slithering in like they have sensed it. It’s their instincts.

“They also like to seek out birds coming to drink out of the bird baths for food and mice hanging around.” 

As a snake catcher, Jay is passionate about educating people on how to be safe around snakes. 

Teaching his clients and his children to treat every snake as though they are venomous, he stresses the importance of not attempting to handle or kill a snake. 

“You step back. Don’t put yourself in the position where if the snake becomes angry, you are in its strike path,” he said. 

“Once a snake is warm, they are fast, so step back, keep an eye on it, and call a snake catcher.

“Google (the snake and a catcher), and don’t attempt to grab it or kill it yourself.”

Despite the myth that big snakes are “dumb”, Jay says he has seen more accidents happen with people playing with “dumb” snakes than small snakes. 

If you find a snake on your property, call Jay at Close Encounters on 0449 729 648.


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