Eastern brown snakes not as common as you think

Misinformed: People think there are many more eastern brown snakes than there actually are, Brenton Asquith says. Photo: Scott Calvin
Misinformed: People think there are many more eastern brown snakes than there actually are, Brenton Asquith says. Photo: Scott Calvin

Brenton Asquith, the only licensed snake catcher in the Manning Valley, is holding a snake information and snake bite first aid seminar in Wingham on February 10.

He regularly gets asked about the amount of snakes he catches and what they are. 

“I also get told that the area I live in is overrun with brown snakes. This is far from true,” Brenton says.

“Since September I have caught four eastern brown snakes and to some that may sound like a lot, but take into account that I have also caught a large number of other species, including red-bellied black snakes, eastern small-eyed snakes, green tree snakes, diamond pythons and a few little oddities many have never heard of and these far outnumber eastern brown snakes,”.

Brenton says red-bellied black snakes far outnumber any other snake he catches, most likely due to the fact they love frogs and skinks.

I also get told that the area I live in is overrun with brown snakes. This is far from true.

Brenton Asquith

“We make our homes perfect for these and try make our homes cool, which is much needed on hot days for a black snake that would certainly overheat fast if it stayed in the sun,” Brenton says.

“But this does not mean they are in plague proportion or even that our homes and towns are being overrun by them or any other snake for that matter.”

The main reason people think that the eastern brown snake is very common is that we have at least six species of snake that are commonly mistaken for a young brown snake just because of colour.

“Each year since I have been a snake catcher I catch three to four eastern browns per season, which is generally end of winter through to the start of winter the next year,” Brenton says.

“In recent years the amount of snakes I catch has gone up slightly which can be attributed to more people knowing about my service.”

This, along with the increased awareness that social media has brought, along with increases in human population and land clearing, are possible reasons for people thinking that snakes are more prolific, Brenton suggests. 

Brenton Asquith handling an eastern brown snake. Photo: Scott Calvin

Brenton Asquith handling an eastern brown snake. Photo: Scott Calvin

“More land is being cleared to build homes for people which were habitat for snakes, lizards, frogs, birds, rodents and many other animals that now have no where to go and become an issue for the new resident,” Brenton says. 

The seminar will be at Wingham Memorial Services Club on Saturday, February 10 starting at 2pm. This is a free event that covers snake bite first aid, ways to deter snakes from sticking around if they visit your yard, discussion about common species found in the local area and what to do if you find a snake and want it removed or just want a snake identified.

There will be snake bite bandages that have a shape that changes to indicate correct pressure available to buy at the event. If you are interested in buying some please Brenton asks that you contact him on Facebook at Taree and Surrounding Snake Catcher ahead of the seminar to advise the quantity you want to give him an idea of the numbers needed so nobody misses out.

If you need a snake removed or identified please call you local licensed snake catcher whose details can be found by a quick Google search for NSW snake catchers and you will find a list of licensed catchers who are trained and insured. For the Manning Valley please call Brenton on 0434 490 133.