As a snake handler I often get people ringing wanting to know answers to a question about snakes which I’m more than happy to help with. Anything to dispel the mystery of such an amazing creature, that’s often persecuted due to peoples ignorance and lack of understanding. It seems to be a source of pride for some to tell people about the gruesome things they’ve done to a snake. If they did the same to a cute cuddly animal they would get crucified. So if you love animals you should love all animals as they are all equal whether or not they are cute and cuddly.
So getting back to the point of this post here are a few of the myths I’ve come across while I’ve been working as a snake handler:
Blue Tongue Lizards Keep Snakes Away
The Blue Tongue lizard is a large skink found over most of Australia. Both these lizards and many snakes occupy similar habitats and on occasion can be found near each other going about their business. Some snakes will quite happily gobble up Blue Tongues for dinner, so no they don’t keep Blue Tongues away if anything they attract them if they’re out looking for food.
Snakes Defend Their Nests
Snakes around Melbourne are not maternal. They don’t stay and look after their young. The snakes will either lay a clutch of eggs or give birth to live young and leave them to fend for themselves. The young snakes will not live together in a nest, shortly after birth they will disperse and go about their separate ways.
Baby Snakes are Not Dangerous
Baby snakes (Neonates) are extremely dangerous. Even at birth the young snakes will have a similar venom composition to their parents, their fangs will be a little smaller but they still have the potential to cause you serious harm if you are bitten. They are also a lot less predictable and should be left alone. Call a professional!!
A Bowl of Milk Will Attract Snakes
This seems to be common one with elderly people, I’ve been out to a few places where there’s been bowls of milk sitting around the house in an attempt to lure them out. Snakes do not drink milk and are not attracted to bowls of milk. I had one elderly lady who was convinced the snakes in her house were coming out at night, “I can hear the bowls moving at night” she kept telling me. It turned out she had possums and they were loving all the treats she was leaving out for them
Snakes Chase People
Snakes do not chase people!!! Some snakes may charge a short distance in an effort to make you leave them alone but they will not chase you. Snakes have poor eye sight they don’t see colours very well but they can see movement. So if you stop moving they can’t see you and they won’t feel threated. I’ve had people swear that they’ve been chased by snakes for several kilometres but this just isn’t true. If you move away slowly they will to. Snakes are not aggressive! Some can be actively defensive where they will charge at you in an attempt to make you go away but this is usually if they are cornered or no other option.