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How to avoid snakes and what to do if one bites you.

Right now, with the warmer weather, snakes are VERY ACTIVE.

But in Melbourne, with the recent heavy rains and floods, they are even more active in areas where they would not normally be as they are trying to stay away from rising flood waters.

Being cold blooded, snakes are attracted to places where they can lay in the sun and warm up their bodies for the day after a cold night. They are also particularly active at this time of year after their long winter hibernation.

So, they will be attracted to open places to sun themselves on things like rocks but also paths and even roads that heat up during the day. But they are also naturally wary creatures, that’s why you also find them hiding in long grass, after they’ve done their morning warmup.

Avoid walking through long grass in the warmer weather. If you have to, wear sturdy shoes or hiking boots to protect your ankles and feet (the most likely place to get bitten by a snake.)

If you see a snake on a path or road ahead of you, the simple solution is to back away slowly so as not to scare the snake. It will only attack you (in defense of itself) if it thinks you are going to harm it. Or it will bite you of course, if you stand on it. (That’s a reflex response.)

If you do get bitten, take the following immediate action.

1. If you are alone, call 000 and ask for an ambulance. Give your location as best you can. If you can, see if you can grab the attention of someone nearby or call if you know someone is in the area. If you have someone with you, get them to call the ambulance and then follow these instructions.

2. Stay calm and still. Running around, panicking or other extreme movement will simply make any venom in the bite wound spread around your body faster.

3. Immediately immobilise the limb that has been bitten.


5. Apply a pressure bandage to the wound. If you don’t have a bandage handy use whatever you can – a T-shirt, shirt, towel, scarf. Begin by wrapping the bandage TIGHT around the bite area and then working UP the limb until you run out of bandage. The pressure of the bandage works to restrict the venom moving through your body. If there is a stick or anything similar nearby, use it to splint the limb and keep it straight and immobile.

6. Keep calm until help arrives.

If you can try and remember a description of the snake, the time of the bite and the exact location of it. (Mark the bandage if you can.)

Also always remember while the number of snakebites in Australia every year is very high, the death rate is very, very low. Your chance of full recovery is extremely high, especially if help arrives quickly.

Apart from avoiding places where snakes are, your best protection is to be fully trained in first aid. You can book at And always carry a snake bite first aid kit with you at this time of the year. Keep it in your backpack or your car so it’s close by. You can buy one from us at


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