FAWNA volunteers work hard to relocate and rescue snakes and reptiles across Mid North Coast

Recently Rod attended a job at Dunbogan as FAWNA received a call there was a python which had become stuck in a pool skimmer box. Photo: Rod Miller.

Recently Rod attended a job at Dunbogan as FAWNA received a call there was a python which had become stuck in a pool skimmer box. Photo: Rod Miller.

FAWNA volunteer Rod Miller says he often has to think ‘outside of the box’ when relocating or rescuing a snake. 

Warmer weather has meant the snake season hit the Mid North Coast earlier this year and there have been many reported sightings from residents. 

Rod has been a volunteer with FAWNA for about five years.

Recently Rod attended a job at Dunbogan as FAWNA received a call there was a python which had become stuck in a pool skimmer box. 

Rod rushed over the the property while trying to come up with an idea of how to rescue the snake.

“The snake had chased a rat into the pool and went in through the top of the skimmer cover,” he said. 

“In failing to get the rat, it turned around and got the skimmer box and itself out of the water but then was truly stuck.”

Rod put the snake’s body in a cardboard tube to hold the reptile in place and another around its head.

He slowly started drilling holes in the skimmer cover and after some twisting with pliers the skimmer box broke. 

Rod checked the python for any injuries as it made its way out of the cardboard tube.

The python was then released back in the bush.

Mid North Coast FAWNA volunteers have attended 465 snake and reptile calls in the last 12 months which included 27 lace monitors, 100 pythons, 165 brown snakes, 184 red-bellied black snakes. Rod said the others consisted of reptiles including tree snakes and water dragons. 

When Rod did his initial training with FAWNA he said he was thrown into the deep end. 

“They dropped about 20 brown snakes and red bellied snakes at our feet and they said ‘ok no one move this is how you pick them up, handle them and work with them’,” he said. 

Rod said reptiles are a natural part of a healthy ecosystem. 

“Most snakes you come across are usually caught out and are most likely trying to get away,” he said. 

To keep snakes away from houses Rod recommends keeping lawns cut short, placing shallow dishes of water on the corners of properties as snakes are often in search of a drink and making sure holes in buildings are filled so that snakes can’t get into the roof space or walls. 

Rod said if a snake is inside a building FAWNA will do its best to send someone to relocate the snake. Contact is 6581 4141. For identification of snakes people can also email FAWNA at fawna.nsw.inc@gmail.com

A donation towards petrol cost is welcomed by the volunteer organisation. 

Rod said FAWNA does not have the volunteer capacity to relocate all snakes which are out and about unless they are a direct threat to the public. 

“Most snakes have probably been around for a long time but due to their shy nature are often not seen,” he said.