Updated: Nov 30
During the warmer days of Spring, snakes become more active as they leave their winter retreats in search of a mate and food.
There are 27 species of snake found in the Brisbane area, the most common being the coastal taipan, tiger snake, death adder, rough-scaled snake and eastern brown snake.
Of these snakes, only the eastern brown snake is regularly found in Brisbane's suburbs.
The eastern brown snake is highly venomous and its colouring varies from light tan to almost black, with a cream or orange belly. They grow to an average length of 1.5m.
Hatchlings may have a darker head and neck band or can have dark cross-bands along their entire length. These patterns gradually disappear with age.
Snakes prefer to eat frogs, mice, birds and lizards; however, if they are suddenly disturbed or cornered, they will bite before trying to escape. For our inquisitive pups and curious kitties, an encounter with a snake can have potentially fatal consequences.
These are our essential tips for keeping your pets safe from snakebite:
If you are walking your dog in bushland or grassy areas, take care to walk in cleared areas only such as bush trails and pathways.
Keep your dog on a lead.
Wear long trousers and enclosed footwear.
Keep a lookout on the ground ahead of you where snakes may be sunning themselves.
Hungry snakes will be attracted to sheds and outbuildings where mice and rats breed in rubbish and under building materials such as corrugated iron sheets. Keep these areas free from debris and ensure that your pets do not have access.
If you find a snake in your house, you should search online and call your local snake catcher, who will remove the snake and relocate it safely back to its natural habitat.
What To Do If Your Pet Is Bitten By A Snake
If you suspect your pet has been bitten by a snake, you should get your pet into the car immediately and head straight to our vet clinic or your nearest emergency vet hospital.
Call us on (07) 3288 1822 once you are underway, and we will have everything ready to help your pet.
After-hours, please call Animal Emergency Service on (07) 3715 9999
Signs may include:
weakness or walking like they are drunk
appearing spaced out
suddenly stopping breathing
You must act quickly.
If you see your pet with a snake, have them checked by a vet—even if there are no immediate symptoms.
Pets can collapse or die very suddenly after appearing to be quite normal and displaying no symptoms.
Some dogs, especially Staffies, will just start panting a lot more and seem overheated and a bit distressed.
Others will collapse and stop breathing only minutes after a snake bite.
Some animals are bitten but don’t get any venom in the bite, so it’s not always straightforward.
DO NOT put a tourniquet on, do not bandage. Just get in the car and head to the vet. Keep your pet quiet and calm. Keep the air conditioning on to keep them as cool as possible.
DO NOT try to catch or kill the snake.
Pets are usually given IV fluids on a drip, as well as oxygen therapy. Antivenom is only given if there are symptoms. It is of no value and can be dangerous if there are no symptoms of snakebite.
If pets show no symptoms, we will observe them for a few hours, usually with a cannula in their vein, so we have rapid access should they suddenly collapse and need medication or treatment.
With rapid treatment, over 95% of pets will survive a snake bite and go on to lead normal happy lives.
(Snake image credits: Angus Emmott / Queensland Museum)
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