Living with snakes

Home is where your heart is and mine is right here in Tasmania, Australia.  I love this beautiful island continent and this beautiful island state.  There is no place like home!  I love all our unique flora and fauna; even the slithery scaly kind has a home here and is a much needed part of our ecosystem.

The first Australians, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people talk about The Dreamtime.  The Dreamtime is an explanation of creation as well as the code of how to live and survive in the harshness of our land.  One of the stories is the Story of The Rainbow Serpent; it’s told by a number of different Aboriginal peoples.

Snakes are very much a part of the culture and landscape of Australia.

In Tasmania we have three types of snake and all are deadly.  Snakes are shy creatures though, they don’t set out to bite people, they would rather slither away than have an encounter with a scary member of human kind.  Their venom is used to secure their dinner rather than to hurt people (it stuns their prey and immobilises them).  Snakes in Tasmania don’t inject their venom, rather it runs down their fangs into the puncture that the fangs created.

There have been no recorded deaths by snake bite in Tasmania for decades!

This summer I’ve seen two snakes and I live out in the country where there is plenty of snake habitat – they really are shy slithery things. Both sightings were of deceased snakes who sadly ventured out onto the road and met their demise.  I haven’t seen any live ones (in seven years of being on the farm I’ve seen one live snake and he was hurriedly trying to get out of my way and hide in the bushes).  But this doesn’t mean that I’m not prepared for a snake encounter when I’m running.


Snake sighting number two this summer – just this weekend gone.

This is what I would do:  Always carry a phone and either go with a friend or let someone know where I’m going – the exact route.  If a snake bite did occur I’d follow these three steps:

  1. DO NOT panic.  Stay calm.
  2. Quickly use my running top as a compression bandage.
  3. Call 000 for help (triple zero is our emergency number in Australia).
The Tasmanian Road Runners top is rather long! Its my singlet of choice when going out to run in the bush.

The Tasmanian Road Runners top is rather long! It’s my singlet of choice when going out to run in the bush.


The trick is to bandage firmly around the wound and then up the entire limb. Ideally a sports compression bandage would be better than a running singlet, hence the need to call 000 as quickly as possible. Also it would be good to monitor the toes to see if they are going blue – we don’t want to cut off circulation completely.

As long as a snake bite victim is kept calm and still and a good compression bandage is applied they can survive a snake bite.  If I was with someone who’d been bitten I would take note of the snake (a description) and record the time of the bite – this will help with treatment.

There is no need to be afraid when going into the beautiful Australian bush.  There is a need to be aware and to have a plan.  When I was checking up on my facts to write this post one web site stated:

you are far more likey to be killed by your spouse than to succumb to snake bite!

Please don’t rely on my word about snake bite first aid in Tasmania.  Here is a website to check out for yourself:  Living with Snakes

There you have it.  Snakes are part of our culture and our landscape.  For the Indigenous People of Australia a Snake explains creation.  Snakes help to control nasty introduced pests and keep our unique Australian wild life safe from these invaders.  Snakes can pop up anywhere but they rarely do – they don’t like us as much as we don’t like them.  You are more likely to see an Unsporty Woman running up a hill than a snake… some might say that she is as mad as a cut snake and she most probably is!


Happy running 🙂


This is what tired husbands do while Mad Unsporty Women do hill repeats – they sit in the car and eat cheese and grapes! He looks excited don’t you think?

20 thoughts on “Living with snakes

  1. Wow, I can’t believe you have only seen 2 snakes living in such a rural spot! I’ve encountered 3 live ones and a fair few dead ones on the bike! The Pipeline track is a common spot for them and even our parkrun has had a few!
    But as you say, they usually get well out of way and you just need to sensible when out 😊

    • I avoid them Sam…I stay out of places where they might be. I’m a real scaredy cat. Also we run in the early morning out here at home so I’m thinking the snakes must sleep in until the sun’s up and it’s nice and warm. I heard about one of the snake encounters at Hobart parkrun…yikes!

  2. i don’t like snakes… omg, no… actually spiders are more of a phobia for me… THANK HEAVENS any snake i may stumble across here in the UK is not a killer or i just wouldn’t do the trails…
    In Cape Town, there are Puff Adders… Cobras, Rinkhals etc and i ran with my sis up the mountains there and had to watch every step, i was petrified!
    Hmmm, OK, so there is one good thing about running in the UK *lol* kidding… i LOVE it here…

  3. Snakes are just one of those things I’m not rational about. I have issues encountering worms, let alone our very innocuous garden snakes.

    Your advice is great … there is no reason to avoid the great outdoors. Just be reasonably prepared for the potential dangers.

  4. Thanks for the top tips on how to manage a snake bite – it might come in useful one day. Doctors don’t learn much about first aid in general which is silly because in a group of people you’d expect them to be the ones to help! And yes, I’m one of those Brits who doesn’t fancy emigrating to OZ because although it sounds wonderful I’m uncomfortable with the thought of poisonous snakes and spiders!😳

    • I’m hearing you Julie, I don’t like them at all! I’m a real sook when it comes to snakes and spiders. I’ve been a qualified first aider for years, only had to do real live first aid a handful of times but each time I’ve been grateful for the skills that I’ve learnt. But that’s as far as it goes, I could never handle everything that doctors and nurses do. I get the wobbles just going into a hospital to visit. I’m actually in awe of all medical professionals.

  5. On Australia Day I bought my kids a toy snake each (their choice!)

    After playing together for a while (“my snake loves your snake”) my daughter asked if we all wanted to play “snake and seek”.

    It’s hide and seek… With snakes.

  6. Annie I had just been reading about that chomp reason bandage business. All snakes are deadly in Tasmania. All right that takes the guess work out of it. Thanks for the post. Very timely. 🙂

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