Snake catcher ready to sink fangs into summer

October 30, 2021 BY

Control: North Bendigo woman Tameeka Stevens launched her 24/7 snake removal service in March. Photo: JONATHON MAGRATH

ONE woman has turned a love of rescuing reptiles into a local business, taking snake control into her own hands.

Former wildlife rescuer Tameeka Stevens started training as a snake catcher in 2017 and launched Greater Bendigo Snake Control earlier this year.

“I can’t pinpoint the moment I decided to do it, but I think it’s progressed from being a wildlife rescuer since 2012, becoming interested in the reptile side of the wildlife rescue,” she said.

“It led me to realise that there weren’t many wildlife carers, rescuers and snake catchers around that were helping snakes.

“I started learning more about reptiles and as I got more knowledgeable about them and started rescuing them, I decided I would take the dive and become a snake catcher.”

Ms Stevens now runs a 24-hour, seven days a week service, offering snake captures, relocations, and advice.

Last Wednesday, Ms Stevens conducted a rescue she described as the “highlight of her career”, when she retrieved a brown snake from the basement of the Neangar EUFS Pharmacy in Eaglehawk.

The venomous snake had made its way through a drain on the footpath into the basement of the pharmacy.

“I was rummaging through the basement trying to get to this drain at the other end, I had to climb up into it, and I was in a tight confined space with this brown snake, but I was able to find it and remove it and take it out of the building,” Ms Stevens said.

“The staff were really good, they managed the foot traffic on the path, and there were staff on hand in the basement to move things around.

“They were calm and professional and as excited and surprised as I was.”

Snake season started at the beginning of spring, and Ms Stevens said there may be more snakes out as males begin to fight each other for a mate and females lay eggs or give birth.

She said overcast or sunny days that aren’t too windy or too hot are preferred by snakes but said there are simple methods to avoiding an uncomfortable confrontation with a slithery reptile.

“It’s important to be mindful of where they’re working or travelling, if you’re working in the back yard, if you’re backing onto bushland or bushwalking just be vigilant,” she said.

“Remember that snakes aren’t out to hurt us, however they do get quite scared by us and that’s when they’ll go into a defensive-type mode.

“Snakes give you a lot of warning before they’re ready to cause any bite harm or envenomation and there’s a few easy steps we can take to prevent that, including giving the snake a wide-berth, backing away from the snake, allowing it to move on and not interacting with it.”