A red-bellied black snake caught in netting at Long Beach, near Batemans Bay on the NSW South Coast, has been rescued by a WIRES volunteer and freed into a swampy area away from people.
The snake was entangled in the black netting and had wrapped itself in lattice, which is how experienced WIRES volunteer Kay Mallitt found it when she was called in to free the reptile.
Trained in snake handling, Ms Mallitt would normally bring a second snake handler to free a trapped snake, but there is a shortage of trained handlers so she attended the rescue alone.
She cut the netting from around the snake and then slowly coaxed it to release itself from the latticework so she could put the snake in a bag.
Once the snake was removed from the house, Ms Mallitt was able to examine it and remove most of the netting wrapped around its body, but it needed help with the netting wrapped around its head and through its mouth. Together with another WIRES-trained snake handler, Sandy Collins, she was able to remove all the netting.
“It’s always a little scary when a venomous snake needs to be pinned by the head,” said Ms Mallitt. “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 teeming with frogs, and far away from people and their gardens.
The rescue serves as a timely reminder for residents to check they are using only wildlife-safe netting over ponds, vegetable patches or fruit trees. Netting mesh should be of a small enough size so a pinkie finger cannot be poked through it.
WIRES advises that people who are not trained to handle snakes should assume all snakes are venomous, and not try to free them without trained help. If assistance is needed with a snake, residents are advised to call WIRES on 1300 094 737.