HORSHAM Rural City Council relieving ranger Wayne Lane has reminded Wimmera residents to remain calm if they find a snake in their backyard.
Snakes are starting to become more active with the arrival of warmer weather.
Mr Lane said council had received about a dozen call-outs for snakes in the past few weeks.
“Many have turned out to be blue-tongue lizards – people see the tail and panic,” he said.
He said the biggest problem with snakes was that when people saw one, they panicked, ran inside and took their eyes off it.
“The snake then disappears and it is more dangerous looking for it than knowing where it is,” he said.
“My advice is that people be wary, have their phone handy and ring me while they are watching it.
“If it does then disappear, we will cancel the call-out.”
Mr Lane said it was important people did not get too close.
“More often than not, the snake will take off anyway, because they feel vibration and sense people around,” he said.
“If the snake disappears, it is too late to do anything by the time we get there.”
Department of Environment and Primary Industries senior scientist Nick Clemann said snakes were emerging from their winter hibernation to bask in the sun.
“They will start moving about to look for food and a mate,” he said.
“Spring means more people are out walking their dogs, cycling, bush-walking, enjoying parks and gardening, so, depending on where they live and walk, they are quite likely to encounter a snake.
“Snakes are more common in rural areas.”
Mr Clemann said the most common snakes were eastern brown snakes, tiger snakes, lowland copperheads and red-bellied black snakes.
“All four species are dangerously venomous, but it is rare for them to bite people,” he said.
“Be aware that snakes might be around and be informed about how to react to them.”