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Snake 1, blue tongue 0

The old saying that blue tongue lizards keep snakes away has just been proven wrong. Photo: Diana DomonkosChewton photographer Diana Domonkos snapped this cracking image of a snake devouring a blue tongue lizard on her property.

“I came across these two whilst gardening,” she said. “A worry in two ways – (about) feeling safe in my yard and more urgently for the beautiful blue tongue.

“I was hoping he could be released but no luck. Anyway, I am pretty sure I don’t want to be a wildlife photographer anymore.”

Ms Domonokos posted the above comments with the photo on social media and the response was overwhelming with stacks of people praising the image and others discussing their experiences with snakes.

Chris Humfrey, owner of Wild Action Zoo in Macedon, confirmed the snake was an eastern brown snake.

“It’s ‘s second most toxic land snake – it’s very dangerous indeed!” Mr Humfrey said.

“These snakes are commonly known to eat bluetongue lizards (that lizard in the photo is an eastern blue tongue lizard).

“It kind of destroys the old wives’ tale that, if you have lizards in your garden … they’ll keep away the snakes!”

Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning wildlife officer Glenn Smith said eastern brown snakes were most common in the northwest of the state with the occasional tiger snake or red-bellied black snake encountered around wetlands, creeks and rivers.

“These three species are all highly venomous but it is rare for them to bite people,” Mr Smith said.

“However, they are known to bite animals when disturbed. If you are a pet owner and your dog or cat encounters a snake causing you concern, the best course of action is to remove your pet from the area or tie it up while the snake passes.

“Being aware that snakes may be around and being informed about how to react to them is very important at this time of year (see breakout panel on this page).”

In previous years, snakes have been sighted sunbaking in Castlemaine Botanical Gardens on the path that runs along the creek in the main part of park.

Head gardener Gillian Miller said there had been no reports so far this year.

“They have been seen here before so it’s always good to be on the lookout,” Ms Miller said. “If you do come across a snake stay calm, and try to move yourself, your pets and anyone with you away from the snake.

“Dogs must be on-lead in the botanical gardens at all times. It’s wise to keep dogs on-lead in other areas as well when walking at this time of the year.”

What to do …Some key points to remember about living in or visiting an area with snakes:

If you see a snake – keep calm and try to move yourself, anyone with you and your pets away from the snake.Never touch or attempt to capture or hurt a snake – instead call DELWP customer service centre on 136 186 who will provide you advice or put you in contact with your nearest licensed snake catcher.Have a spring clean – clean up around the house and cut lawns regularly. Snakes are attracted to shelter such as piles of rocks and timber, sheets of metal, or building materials.Undertake first aid training, ensure your first aid kit contains several compression bandages, and if someone is bitten call 000 immediately.Snakes are protected under theWildlife Act 1975. It is illegal to capture, kill or harm them. Bites can occur when people try to kill snakes.Midland Express

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