The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning has issued a warning to people in the Grampians region to take caution when outdoors, with snakes emerging from hibernation.
The warning comes as a 14-year-old girl was bitten in the lower leg after accidentally stepping on a snake while walking along the track near the Sundial car park on Monday. The girl was taken to hospital where she was administered anti-venom and kept under observation for 24 hours.
“She was pretty shaken as you can imagine, but she did everything right before being moved to hospital,” Stawell SES controller Alan Blight said.
“It serves as a reminder to look where you are walking.”
DELWP acting environmental compliance regional manager Paul Ryan said snake sightings will become more prevalent as the weather continues to warm up.
“Snakes are emerging from their winter hibernation to bask in the sun and to search for food and a mate,” he said.
“As people and snakes become more active it is quite possible they’ll encounter each other while enjoying the outdoors.
“Being aware that snakes may be around and being informed about how to react to them is very important at this time of year.”
Humans are not the only ones that have been reminded to be cautious at this time of year, with instances involving snakes and pets also set to rise.
“It is rare for them to bite people; however, they are known to bite animals when disturbed,” Mr Ryan said.
“Unfortunately we see plenty of dogs and cats come in with snake bites from this time of year,” Stawell Veterinary Clinic owner Richard Hackwill said.
“When it gets warmer they are seen more around early morning and late evening but at the start of the season that we are in now it can really be anytime.
“If pets do happen to get bitten the best thing to do is call a vet and get them there as soon as possible.”
DELWP suggests people clean their backyards of any debris and ensure lawns are cut regularly.
They suggest to remain calm and move away from the snake if seen, and never to touch or try and catch a snake, but to call DELWP Customer Service Centre on 136 186 who will provide advice or put you in contact with a licensed snake catcher.