Aussies warned after snake 'strangled' in backyard

The snake rescue is the latest in a long list of wildlife encounters with fruit netting.

One of the world's most venomous snakes was no match for fruit netting — forced to endure the "scorching" heat as well as "very cold" overnight temperatures after getting tangled up in a backyard garden.

It is believed the eastern brown was "strangled" by the netting for several days, exposed and completely incapacitated until the Canberra resident returned home from holiday on Sunday and called a snake catcher for assistance.

"I saw the snake in a really precarious position — it was really stressed, really exhausted, really dehydrated," Gavin Smith from ACT Snake Removals told Yahoo News Australia. "I took it into the shade away from the sun... put some water on it, cooled it down and then started cutting it free."

Right, the snake strangled in the netting. Left, the snake catcher cuts free the snake.
The eastern brown snake was 'strangled' by the fruit netting for days in a Canberra backyard. Source: Gavin Smith

The snake catcher recalled the 1.5 metre snake was "gulping" as it drank the water provided and he reiterated how "dangerous" fruit netting is for snakes and other wildlife. "It would have perished basically."

Aussies urged to turn away from 'wildlife unfriendly' nets

The snake rescue is the latest in a long list of incidents involving wildlife getting injured, or even killed, after becoming tangled in fruit netting. Advocates continue to raise the alarm on how deadly they can be for a myriad of different animals if their loops are large.

"[Fruit netting] is very, very dangerous for fruit bats, lizards, snakes. They are nets that you can push your finger through, which means animals can easily get tangled in them, their heads stuck ... They are wildlife unfriendly nets."

In the ACT netting is considered 'wildlife friendly' if it has a mesh size of five millimetres by five millimetres or smaller. The ACT has plans to amend laws to ban the use of wildlife unfriendly netting which don't meet those measurements. A programme is running during the spring to substitute netting which doesn't meet the standards to new, safer nets for free, ACT Wildlife reports.

A common rule of thumb to check whether fruit netting is safe is to check whether your finger can fit through the loop — if so, it is deemed 'wildlife unfriendly' and should not be used.

The eastern brown snake can be seen drinking water.
The eastern brown luckily survived the ordeal. Source: Gavin Sith

Snakes are good 'indicator' of changing climate

Gavin believes that snakes are a great "indicator" of the "challenges Australia is facing" in the wake of the impending impact of climate change, encouraging the conservation for the animal's sake, as well as our own.

"They're so attuned to environment and seasons and climates. Some are well adapted to living in suburban areas yet some are not, so as we urbanise and as climate changes, snakes are an expert animal of how things are going."

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