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Snake warning as reptiles flee NSW floods

Farmers in flood-affected NSW rural communities are seeing more snakes and more animals are getting bitten as snakes flee the water and get closer to livestock.

November 30, 2022
By Luke Costin
30 November 2022

More snakes are being spotted on farms as the reptiles flee the floodwaters affecting vast swathes of inland NSW.

It’s a double whammy for farmers after months of flooding that has isolated towns and torn apart rural roads – hampering vets’ efforts to treat livestock bitten by snakes.

NSW Farmers Rural Affairs Committee’s Sarah Thompson says the increase in snake sightings being reported is a worry.

“People with dogs who are going out to move stranded livestock are at a higher risk of being bitten,” she said on Wednesday.

“This is happening everywhere.

“We’ve heard recently about livestock being lost to snakes because some farms are more like islands than paddocks, and they can’t get to a vet.”

When it comes to snakes biting humans, the NSW Poisons Information Centre says a pressure-immobilisation bandage – about as tight as one for a sprained ankle – is recommended for victims, who should also remain as still as possible.

Mrs Thompson said vigilance was key in flood-affected rural communities.

“Everyone’s trying to stay dry and the snakes are no exception,” she said.

“We know snakes aren’t generally trying to hurt us or our animals, but coming closer together because of flooding increases the risk of an attack for humans and animals.”

Meanwhile, the main flood peak on the Murrumbidgee River has passed the town of Hay, providing some relief to council crews patrolling the town’s levee day and night.

“Flood gates and drainage pipes will be opened as allowed as the river falls,” Hay Shire Council said.

“We ask for patience as staff start pumps to remove water built up from any rainfall, especially if there is a short, sharp rainfall event.”

The Riverina town of Balranald is expecting major flooding over the weekend, while the SES is also concerned about major flooding continuing in the Lachlan River towns of Condobolin, Euabalong and Hillston.

“Planning continues for potential major flooding and consequences on communities through to the end of February 2023,” the SES said on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, a northern NSW welfare services coordinator has been named NSW’s Public Servant of the Year.

Amanda Causley led the co-ordination of 54 evacuation centres to support northern NSW communities affected by floods, including developing strategies to find suitable accommodation for 1600 people in Lismore.

“Her commitment to ensuring the success of the evacuation centres and going above and beyond to support citizens in need has improved how NSW government delivers for the people of NSW,” NSW Public Service Commissioner Kathrina Lo said in a statement.

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