Warning after snake seen drinking from dog bow

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Pet owners have been issued a stark warning after a dangerous snake was spotted drinking from a public dog bowl.

NSW resident Rodney Cassor noticed the venomous eastern brown snake poking his head inside the dog bowl at a beach, before sending a photo WILD Conservation, who shared it on social media.

“We were shown this photo by a worried resident today that also saw a snake drinking from her dog’s bowl at the back door in Sydney,” the conservation group wrote in a Facebook post.

“Just keep an eye out as snakes are on the move currently. ”

Kane Durrant, Director and Principal Ecologist of WILD Conservation said eastern brown snakes, which are found across the eastern states from North Queensland to South Australia, are “considered to be our most dangerous snake in Australia because of the toxicity of their venom and because of their proximity to humans”.

“Generally, there’s on average about two deaths per year in Australia from snake bites … and eastern browns are responsible for the most deaths in Australia,” he told news.com.au.

With the weather warming up, Mr Durrant said he’s received increased calls from concerned residents who have spotted snakes on their properties, with eastern brown snake encounters making up a third of their calls.

“They like dry grassy areas and there’s been quite a few sightings of them by rivers or on the beach and in picnic grounds,” he said.

“They can also be seen near people’s fish ponds and water features in the yards, and sometimes that includes animal’s water bowls.”

Just this week, Mr Durrant received a call from a Sydney woman whose dog had found a red-bellied black snake in her backyard, and a man who came home from work to find his dog dead in the garden.

“He thinks it was probably an eastern brown because he had seen one in yard a couple of days before.”

“It’s obviously very heartbreaking when our pets come into contact with wildlife and it’s also obviously very bad for the snake when a dog comes into contact with it because usually the snake dies as well.”

Mr Durrant said snakes become more active during snake season, which typically starts in September and can continue until April.

“Right now male snakes are travelling over land looking for females and they’ve also all come out of hibernation so a lot of them are out at the moment looking for a feed. And that’s putting them into contact with people as they travel through their yards and public places.”

As we head to towards summer, residents, especially those who live in suburbs where snakes are prevalent or near golf courses, cemeteries or creeks, are warned to keep their backyards tidy to reduce the number of areas where snakes might seek cover.

“Rake up the leaf litter, keep your lawns nice and short, clean up the garden and lift anything off the ground like firewood leftover from winter or bits of tin. Anything you have been putting off, now’s a good time to do it,” said Mr Durrant.

As well as eastern brown snakes, Sydney pet owners are also advised to keep a particular eye out for red belly black snakes which can kill domestic pets if they come into contact.

If you do come across a snake, Mr Durrant advises the public not to approach the reptile and back away from the situation.

“I always advise people to put their kids and pets inside until the snake moves on or until a snake catcher can get on scene and remove it for them,” he said.

“If they suspect that their animal has been bitten by a snake, they need to get that animal to the vet immediately. The same as you would a person, you know they need to call an ambulance.”

While frightening and at times venomous, Mr Durrant said it’s important to remember snakes are native animals that play important roles in our ecosystem.

“The deserve to be here just like any other animals. So we need to respect their space and treat them with caution and be wary of them if you come across them.”

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