‘Don’t go near it’: Covid-19 lockdown leads to deadly snake boom in Melbourne

While the Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted the national economy and plunged many into unemployment, there’s one little industry expecting to boom – snake catching.

Melbourne’s Raymond Hoser has been catching snakes professionally since the 1970s and says he’s about to be busier than ever.

“Because people are at home and they’re not out and about ... we’ve got a perfect storm where people will see more snakes,” he said.


The snake expert who runs Snakebusters based in Melbourne’s east says whiling away the hours in lockdown by mowing and gardening will increase the likelihood of spotting unwelcome reptiles.

“Everyone’s gardens look more immaculate than ever but the flip side is, in long grass, you won’t even see the snake,” he said.

The sunny weather on Saturday brought snakes out of hibernation and Hoser was unusually busy.

He was called out for tiger snakes in seven suburbs – Warrandyte, Eltham, Diamond Creek, Northcote, Abbotsford and Kew and for a brown snake in Avondale Heights. He picked up a blue-tongue lizard at Avondale Heights.

The snake-catcher expects call-outs to increase from now on, peaking at 20-30 call-outs a day by October.

Business was also unusually busy in March as lockdowns began and before winter had warded off the snakes.

Most snakes in Melbourne are deadly so Hoser urges caution.

“If you see a snake don’t go near it. Nine times out of 10 if they’re in your garden they’re passing through,” he said.

“If you get bitten, bandage on your arm, straight to hospital.

“Without treatment you’re likely to die. With treatment you probably won’t die.”

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