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Snakes and netting

A red-bellied black snake caught in netting at Long Beach, near Batemans Bay, has been rescued by a WIRES volunteer and freed into a swampy area away from people. The snake was totally entangled in black netting as well as wrapping itself in the lattice work. Kay Mallitt, an experienced WIRES volunteer who has been trained in snake handling, was called in to deal with it. Ideally, two rescuers would be needed to safely remove a snake from netting but a shortage of trained snake handlers at the time meant that Kay attended the rescue alone. She cut the netting from around the snake and then slowly coaxed it to release itself from the lattice work so she could bag it. Once removed from the house Kay was able to examine the snake more closely. She removed most of the netting wrapped around its body but needed help with the netting wrapped around the snake's head and through its mouth. Together with another WIRES-trained snake handler, Sandy Collins, she removed the netting.

“It’s always a little scary when a venomous snake needs to be pinned by the head”, said Kay, “but by remaining calm and focused on the job at hand, Sandy and I were able to safely remove the netting”. “There were no significant injuries to the snake, besides having his pride hurt and wasting venom on the tools that held his mouth open while the netting was removed.” The snake was released into a swampy area that was teaming with frogs, and far away from people and their gardens. This is a timely reminder for householders to check that they are using only wildlife-safe netting over ponds, vegie patches or fruit trees. The netting mesh should be so small that you cannot poke your finger through. People who are not trained to handle snakes should assume all snakes are venomous and not try to free them without trained help. Call WIRES on 1300 094 737.

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