With the weather warming up locals have reported a spike of snake sightings across the region. Gladstone News looked to the Queensland Department of Environment and Science for some more information about how residents can keep themselves and their families safe if a snake is around.

It is important to remember, snakes are protected under the Nature Conservation Act 1992, and it is an offence to kill, injure, or take snakes from the wild.

When encountered, snakes will usually retreat; however, if they feel threatened, they may become defensive which can be dangerous. Statistics show that most snake bites occur when people are trying to capture or kill a snake.

People are advised that if they do encounter a snake, it is important not to panic. Slowly back away to a safe distance and allow the snake to move away. “When left alone, snakes present little or no danger to people,” the Department advises.

There are many ways residents can reduce the risk of snakes being found in their yards. These include; maintaining lawns and keeping them cut low, having garden beds away from the home and blocking all potential entry points. If you do discover a snake in your home, close internal doors and open any external doors to give the snake a chance to leave. The Department advises that people should not interfere with snakes; they will defend themselves.

Other measures that can be taken to remove potential snake hazards from around your home include ensuring any piles of timber are neatly stacked, and food scraps or compost bins are closed. These steps make these areas less likely to attract rodents, and therefore less likely to attract snakes. If you have a nursery or greenhouse, it is important to keep these tidy too, as well as making sure any bird aviaries or pet enclosures are snake proof. Store seed or food in rodent-proof containers and keep the area generally tidy to remove hiding places for snakes.

Remember, snakes are probably just as scared of you as you are of them but by being careful and keeping your yard tidy the risk of encountering a slithering snake is less likely.