Brisbane Snake Season: 5 Reasons You May Be Seeing Snakes
One of the most frequently asked questions we get on jobs is ‘why was the Snake here and will it come back?’ A fundamental understanding of why a Snake may be in your home or garden is key to preventing future encounters. When ascertaining why a Snake may be sighted, we often talk about pressures, or in other words a force compelling a Snake to fulfil its natural instinct. In this article we will run through the top 5 reasons we find snakes moving onto properties, and ways you can mitigate these to reduce encounters.
1. Food Pressures
One of the most common reasons we find Snakes on Brisbane properties is food pressures. An unintended consequence of development and human inhabitation is that often times a Snakes natural food source will thrive in these conditions. Rodents are attracted to habitation to feed on food scraps and enjoy shelter, lizards and frogs are attracted to habitation as a means of shelter in rock walls and cracks in cement, possums often use roofs to make a home in and bats and birds are attracted to fruit trees often found in backyards. Some Snakes fare better than others because of this, for example Brown Snakes and Pythons thrive due to the number of rodents around houses however Red Bellies and Keel Backs are more uncommon due to there being a higher prevalence of frogs and reptiles directly adjacent to waterways.
How to reduce snakes in Brisbane backyards
Rodent control is of vital importance to reduce the number of Snake sightings. Keeping areas clean and well maintained will usually reduce rodent presence, but rat sac and live traps are also a viable means of eliminating rodents. Keeping birds will often draw in rats and mice as they will eat leftover bird seed and bird eggs, so these areas should be kept as clean as possible. Keeping birdcages and guinea pig pens inside at night is also important, as their main predator (Coastal Carpet Python) is a largely nocturnal Snake.
2. Proximity To Snakes Natural Habitat:
I always say on jobs that the only way to ensure you will never run into a Snake again is to move to New Zealand. Snakes are a part of our native flora and fauna, and sometimes running into them is inevitable. That said, proximity to a Snakes natural habitat will influence likelihood. Areas with a large reserve, forested area, grassland or waterway nearby are naturally going to mean more Snake encounters. While this is largely unavoidable, it pays to know the species of Snakes you are most likely to run into given the terrain. Forested areas are more likely to have you running into Pythons, Tree Snakes and Whip Snakes, Grassland areas are sure-fire Brown Snake hot spots and close proximity to waterways will mean more Black Snakes and Keelbacks. This is of course just a general rule.
How to protect your home from snakes
Mitigation with respect to the environment surrounding your home is out of your control as a homeowner. Considering the likely presence of Snakes it is important to follow the mitigation advice for other pressures. Giving the Snake no reason to choose your yard when its natural habitat abounds will be an effective way to mitigate Snake encounters in areas of high risk.
3. Access To Shelter:
Snakes often move onto properties in search of food and then may find shelter and stay, or may move onto property in search of a place to spend winter. Snakes all enjoy environments where they can be out of sight at points and have an ample place to hide. Examples of this include rock walls, roofs, leaf litter and ground lying junk. Sheds and garages are also Snake hotspots, especially if they are messy. Overgrown grass and large shrubs and trees also influence Snake likelihood. Timber and metal framing providing a space underneath are factors that increase snake inhabitation, as is wood and garbage piles. Brown Snakes especially are quite bad for repurposing holes in the ground and making a home and they can often be found on construction sites and renovation areas.
Minimise the risk of snakes living in your backyard
The best way to ensure a Snake won’t find shelter in your home or yard is too ensure your yard is well maintained and pruned. Keeping the grass cut quite low and keeping vegetation well-trimmed is an effective and easy measure to lessen Snake activity. Keeping the yard free from objects unnecessarily lying on the ground (piles of mowed grass, palm fronds, gym or pool equipment etc.) is another useful measure. Ensuring the house, shed, garage and roof is as well sealed as possible is also prudent. Installing guards under doors and making sure there are no gaps or unnecessarily open windows is all very simple and effective. Rockwalls and other similar areas can be essentially snake proofed using readily available snake proof mesh which can be purchased at Bunnings or other hardware stores. Gaps between and underneath fences can also influence snake movement, especially is the aforementioned fence is adjacent to bushland, and so these should be blocked off.
4. Development/Land Clearing:
Perhaps the most important pressure on Snakes is land clearing and development. Snakes are quite intelligent creatures, and often will have a range where they operate. When this range is disrupted by land clearing and these animals are displaced, the Snakes become highly stressed and will go outside their range and into houses and yards. New estates and developments in proximity to dwellings account for a good deal of Snake relocations in South East Queensland. When the Snakes find they no longer have a home in the habitat they knew, they can hardly be blamed from turning up in an unfamiliar habitat, for it is all they have left.
How to mitigate
Land clearing and development are occurring ever more rapidly. Almost no house in South East Queensland isn’t close to at least some form of development. Mitigating Snakes that have been displaced is a fruitless task as there is not an easy answer. When a Snake, or any animal for that matter, loses its home it becomes erratic and distressed and therefore less predictable. Following other mitigation procedures will however give the Snake which is passing through no reason to stay on site.
5. Mating Pressures:
During mating season, Snakes will naturally become more active as they move around their ranges in search of viable breeding partners. According to the snakes in SEQ guide pythons start breeding as early as winter, and they are the most common Snake to find looking for a partner as they often operate in urban areas. Colubrids and Elapids will become more active looking for breeding partners typically from late Spring to mid-Summer. Snakes become more foraging in breeding season. This means they are moving quite frequently, and it is not uncommon to spot a Snake that is there one minute and gone the next as it continues its search for a mate. With this movement, it becomes more likely that Snakes will be encountered.
How to stop snakes mating in your backyard
Snakes infrequently create nests on properties, but it does happen. The best way to avoid this it to give the Snake no material to use for nesting. Grass clippings should be dispersed throughout an area or taken completely off site as this is the most common place to find a nest. Long grass being trimmed along with vegetation and the removal of any leaf litter and detritus covering the ground will all help as well. Hollowed logs and timber are always a good idea to move on. Keeping a well maintained roof and regularly inspecting it for potential Snake activity is effective also. Snakes passing through and looking for partners is more common in areas close to the Snakes natural habitat, but will happen in suburban areas as well. Following the other listed mitigation procedures will give the Snakes no reason to stay onsite when passing through.
If you’ve seen a snake or unknown reptile in your back yard. Please DO NOT go near or disturb it and keep animals away. Keep it in sight and call us immediately so we have the best chance of catching and relocating.