I’m on a hike and a snake has crossed my path – What do I do?
Out on a bushwalk is one of the most probable places to cross paths (literally!) with a snake. The Australian bush is their natural habitat, and so it’s important to remember that you are the guest in their home. There are many ways to avoid coming into contact with the reptile though, most simply of which is keeping a keen eye on the trail ahead. In dense, bushy areas, always wear long pants or garters to protect the ankles from potential bites, and wear solid, closed-in shoes. Stick to the designated track at all times and avoid venturing out into grassy, covered areas without the right protective gear. It’s also important to watch where you put your hands, particularly around trees, logs and rocks, as snakes often hide in these places.
So, you’ve taken all the precautionary steps yet still find yourself faced with a snake a little too close for comfort. The first thing to remember is that it’s just as scared of you as you are of it. Remain calm and still, and assess the situation logically. If it is behaving calmly as well (and is not facing you or in a striking position with its head reared) back away slowly in the opposite direction, making sure to keep a constant eye on the snake. Never provoke it or throw objects to try and get it to move out of your way. If you feel surrounded or trapped, the safest thing to do is to stay as still as you can, and wait for it to move off on its own, or call a snake catcher to get professional assistance.