Summer has hit southern Australia and it’s snake season.
Now is a great time to remind yourself of a few tips and tricks to avoid a snake bite while enjoying a hiking trip.
If you are planning to hike anywhere in southern mainland Australia and Tasmania in the warmer months you should alway be prepared for a close encounter with a snake. Don’t panic, they are timid and as frightened of you, as you are of them!
In this post we share a few images of Tiger snakes we (and our friends) have come across in Tasmania while we have been hiking and then follow up with some advice on avoiding a (too) close encounter of the reptile kind.
Tiger snakes are very common in many of Tasmania’s wilderness areas but are also widespread across southern Australia. For example, just last week, Tom, our son, almost stumbled on a Tiger Snake while going for a stroll at Blanket Bay in the Otway National Park! It certainly made an impression on him as he was talking about it days later!
You will see from the images, the Tasmanian Tiger snake is generally very dark in colour and may only have faint bands. Those in mainland Australia can have a distinctive band, hence the name “Tiger”snake. There is some great additional information here describing them in more detail
Below is a short video taken by some friends who were resting next to a tarn (small lake) in the Walls of Jerusalem area. Check it out, they were lucky enough to capture this tiger snake nabbing a frog.
This is a still image of the same snake and if you enlarge the picture you may see the frogs leg protruding from it’s mouth!
While we were enjoying a few days in the Walls of Jerusalem area we frequently spied this great tiger snake about 10 metres from our camp site.
Below is a picture Colin took in February on the Overland Track. This is probably the hottest month and hence, excellent snake spotting weather.
They are generally very docile and if you take a wide berth around them (Sue usually like 2 metres or so!!) you are fine.
On the Overland Track they tend to lie along the track in the sun so you soon become aware of what is a fallen branch and what is a snake!! Just stop if you see one ahead, step back if you want to increase the space between you and the snake, and wait till they move away. Generally they are very timid and will quickly retreat into the bush.
There is some great advice on the Parks Tasmania website regarding snakes.
So, six tips to avoid a snake bite while hiking are:
- Step onto rather than over logs – a snake may be basking on the other side.
- Be alert at all times when in the bush, especially in the early morning during the warmer months when snakes are more likely to be sunning themselves but are slow to react. Wear shoes and trousers, instead of thongs and shorts. (we always wear gaiters)
- Avoid walking through long grass or reeds.
- Inspect hollow logs and rock crevices before putting a hand into them.
- Do not try to handle or kill a snake. They are protected species in Australia and MOST bites are caused by people trying to handle them.
- Avoid snakes when sighted. Don’t go and look for it, let it go and keep hiking!
Have you aver had a close encounter with a snake while hiking or bushwalking?
Got any stories you would like to share?
Drop us a comment, we would love to hear from you.