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Snakebite call-outs double since unprecedented Kimberley floods, prompting RFDS warning

Cain AndrewsBroome Advertiser
Native Animal Rescue snake handler Chris Mitchell with a Blackheaded Python
Camera IconNative Animal Rescue snake handler Chris Mitchell with a Blackheaded Python Credit: Robert Dougherty/Broome Advertiser

WA’s Royal Flying Doctor Service has revealed call-outs for snake bites in the Kimberley have doubled since the unprecedented Kimberley flooding earlier this year.

The number of snake-bite call-outs for WA RFDS increased from just six evacuation flights between January and March last year to 12 this year.

Recently appointed WA RFDS chief executive Judith Barker said the floods had increased multiple risk factors for snake bites.

“We have to be extra vigilant as snakes become a major risk while wading through flood waters,” she said.

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Broome snake expert Chris Mitchell said the warmer weather during wet season was also contributing to the increase in snake activity.

“They’ve been dormant over the colder months and are coming out now that it has started to warm back up and their is food available for them daily,” he said.

“The floods would have also displaced quite a few of them for sure.

“With the substantial amount of water misplaced it’s going to move them around a bit.”

Mr Mitchell said people could help avoid coming into contact with snakes by keeping their properties clean and their eyes open.

“Be mindful,” he said.

“And if you do come across one don’t try and deal with it yourself, give someone a call who has the licence to move it.”

It comes after the Department of Fire and Emergency Services sent out a warning during the opening days of the flooding for Kimberley residents to be on the watch for increased snake and crocodile activity.

“Due to the heavy rain and extreme flooding, there has been an increase in snake and crocodile activity in the Kimberley region,” DFES said on January 9.

Dangerous and venomous snake sightings should be reported to the Department of Environment and Conservation or local Shire rangers.

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