Remember that snakes are protected in Western Australia and if you find a snake in and around your property and you live in Cockburn, Melville or Fremantle are you are truly worried about it, then you can call the Wildcare Helpline on (08) 9474 9055 or reach Steve Smartt directly on his mobile phone at 0417 930 587.
Steve considers his occupation to be a labour of love but is worried about the increasing sprawl of estates in and around our city and once caught his duty is to relocate them, which means to us, to be released in the Beeliar Wetlands, which includes Bibra Lake.
To wrap up this article; here is a little information about three more commonly sighted snakes in the Bibra Lake area. Dugites, Tiger Snakes and Death Adders are all found in the Beeliar Wetlands and identifying the reptile that bit you will assist the hospital in any treatment and after care. There is a great source of information at a centre that many people simply drive past in Hope Road - The Cockburn Wetlands Education Centre. They do so much for the wonderful ecosystem that we hold so dear.
There is also a Friends of the Cockburn Wetlands Education Centre and you can see their involvement by clicking here
Dugites vary in colour from brown, grey or olive on top with a yellowish body underneath and can grow to around 2 metres, whilst the young have black heads.
Before settlement their diet consisted of lizards and other snakes but since our arrival they have adapted to rats, mice. In the wild you will find them beneath rocks or small holes but in your property they can just as easily be found under your decking or washing machine or fridge.
They may be very shy and will often slither away, as was a recent case for me but please be aware that if cornered they WILL defend themselves.
Tiger Snakes are normally found close to water and primarily survive on a diet of frogs, lizards and small mammals and although normally only 1.2m they can grow to a similar size as the dugite above.
As with most snakes their colour can vary but as a rule they are generally dark-brown or black with a yellow, orange of cream bands.
The picture above is courtesy of the West Australian Reptile Park and is well worth a visit to educate your family. Their centre is at 92 Henley Street, Henley Brook and you will find details on their website here and you can get an up close view of these reptiles and then afterwards you have a variety of other facilities on the doorstep.
Finally, Death Adders, which are one of the most venomous snakes in Australia, hence their name, but fortunately they are not in large numbers in our locality so it is unlikely that you will encounter one..
That said; we should always be aware that we do SHARE this wonderful wetland with these reptiles and therefore Bibra Lake is their home as well as ours. I’m sure we all moved here because the lakes offer such tranquil space away from the cares of normal day to day life.
If you find one within your home it is wise to try and close off that room or area and call Steve or the Wildcare Helpline.
It is better to be careful than live to regret a decision as happened in 2010 when a person was bitten in his own home and instead of seeking help he tried to catch the young Tiger Snake and by doing so, he became the first person to die from a snakebite in Western Australia since 1998.
The photograph opposite taken by local Steve Paxton shows the reason why I chose Bibra Lake but like the neighbours who live next door to you we must also live in harmony with the nature around us.
I would like to advise that there are other more commercial options available to you for retrieving a snake from your property in Perth but with Steve living very close to our community I felt that I should recognize him for everything that his does for the residents of Bibra Lake and surrounding areas.
Resident since 2006