Snakes are on the move, looking for water.
Snakes are on the move, looking for water. STACEY MCCARTHY

Dry weather sends snakes on back yard water search

THE extraordinary dry conditions prevalent at the moment have caused the region's snakes to get on the move in search for water.

Unfortunately, the reptiles often can't find any water in the bush and invade people's backyards where they find pets' water bowls which offer them a way to quench their thirst.

However, the snakes don't only find a source of water but often encounter the pet for which the water was left in the first place.

Brunswick Heads resident Leigh Grossmith's backyard was invaded by a brown snake last weekend and one of Mr Grossmith's dogs, Buddy, was bitten by the venomous invader.

"Buddy is now being cared for by a vet in Mullumbimby and his condition is touch and go.

"It could have been a lot worse though as my partner and I use the backyard all the time and could easily have encountered the snake.

"Apparently, it was in search of water and the dogs' water bowls attracted it," Mr Grossmith said.

Billinudgel vet Josh Pieris said these types of incidents were common enough and as this was the start of the period when snakes were on the move, he was beginning to see some pets brought in with snake bites.

"We've got one dog here at the moment that was bitten by a snake.

"I believe that also happened in the backyard," Mr Pieris said.

It was a little too early in the season to tell whether there were a lot of snakes invading backyards but the theory behind the story made sense.

Mr Pieris said the best thing pet owners could do was to insure their animals as treatment for snake bites could become very expensive.

"It costs anywhere between $400 and $1000 per anti-venom injection and that's not considering any further treatment.

"Pet owners often can't afford to pay for any more shots and we have to find a compromise.

"When people are bitten, treatment often involves up to 30 anti-venom injections but, unless people are very wealthy, that's only affordable because of medicare.

Insuring pets was therefore very important and could save your pet's life.

Pet owners should also make sure their backyard is tidy and water bowls are kept away from the scrub.

"Keep the water bowls close to the home and if your dog is of a kind which loves to chase snakes such as terriers, you may want to confine it," Mr Pieris said.

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