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Finn's Corner

February 2015

Spotting Snakes

There are almost 30 different species of snake in Victoria, but which ones should you look out for? Here I will list a few of the main snakes observed in our area whose bite can cause some major dramas for you and your pets.

 

The Mainland Tiger Snake is active throughout both the night and day and feed on frogs and small vertebrates. Although this type of snake usually only becomes aggressive if provoked, their bites can be fatal.

More information on how to identify this snake can be found via the following link http://museumvictoria.com.au/discoverycentre/infosheets/snakes-found-in-victoria/mainland-tiger-snake/

tiger

 

The Eastern Brown Snake is classed as extremely fast and aggressive. Also active both day and night this snake prefers dry habitats which are open and even youngsters bites have been known to have caused fatalities.

More information on how to identify this snake can be found via the following link http://museumvictoria.com.au/discoverycentre/infosheets/snakes-found-in-victoria/common-or-eastern-brown-snake/

brown

 

The Copperhead Snake prefers damper habitats however has been observed in the Macedon Ranges and surrounding areas. This snake, unlike the other two is less likely to bite as it is less aggressive. However, their bites can be fatal and they should still be treated with extreme caution.

More information on how to identify this snake can be found via the following link http://museumvictoria.com.au/discoverycentre/infosheets/snakes-found-in-victoria/common-or-eastern-copperhead/

copper

 

The Red Bellied Black Snake is very widespread across Victoria and is active throughout the day and night. Although its venom is not as deadly as other species, it is still highly dangerous and therefore should be carefully managed.

More information on how to identify this snake can be found via the following link http://museumvictoria.com.au/discoverycentre/infosheets/snakes-found-in-victoria/red-bellied-black-snake/

rbb

 

Each of these snakes is classified as extremely dangerous in Victoria. Please make sure if you spot one of these snakes to keep your pets away from the area. No matter where you are in Victoria, a list of snake removalists can be found via this following link http://www.snakecatchers.com/snakeremoval/victoria

 

If your pets unfortunately are bitten by one of these snakes please contact your vets immediately! The best thing for you to do is remain calm. Avoid trying to catch the snake as this will increase your risk of being bitten as well. Identifying the snake would be very helpful. Keep your pet as still as possible and head to the nearest veterinary clinic as the quicker anti-venom is administered the better the chances of recovery.

 

One of the most common questions I have been asked lately is what signs would my pet display if bitten by a snake?

 

Depending on your pet, signs of a snake bite may start to show anytime within 24 hours after your pet has been bitten. Depending on the type of snake, symptoms can also vary but the main ones to look out for include:

 

Collapsing

Excessive drooling

Pale gums

Vomiting

Dilated pupils

Weakness in the hind legs or staggering

Trembling

Paralysis

Difficulty breathing

 

If left untreated symptoms can progress to the point your pet may enter a coma or result in death.

 

If venom is positively identified veterinarians will administer anti-venom as soon as possible and then closely monitor your pet in hospital whilst providing pain relief and intravenous fluids. Recovery time for your pet can vary from 1-2 days if promptly treated up to 1 week in hospital.

More information the treatment of snake bites can be found on the Animal Emergency Centres website http://www.aecvets.com.au/ or via the following pdf http://www.aecvets.com.au/docs/SnakeBite-Client-Handout-NATIONAL.pdf

 

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