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24 June, 2021

Handling snakes with care

HOLDING a snake might sound scary to a lot of people, yet there were many youngsters at the Woodford Show last weekend who were far from intimidated by the reptiles.


Sandy Dickinson, of Urban Reptiles, was kept busy with a first-time display at the Show, with many children taking the chance to hold a python.

Some of the children had never previously touched or been up close to a reptile, with Sandy commenting that the youngsters were often intrigued and would just watch rather than touch.

“Kids are fascinated how they move and climb and what they do with their tongue,” Sandy said.

She readily acknowledged that within society there was some stigma with regards to snakes - and many parents invariably warn their children to “don’t touch”.

“We don’t want them to have that reaction,” Sandy said.

Sandy has hosted parties and visited schools, fetes and pet fairs with councils, and has sought to “break down some of the stigma” surrounding snakes.

“(We want people) to have a healthy respect for the snake, not a fear,” she said.

She also referred to respecting wildlife in general.

Included in the display were Diamond, Black-headed, Albino Darwin and Coast Carpet pythons: “These are pets which can be held,” she said, with the proviso warning, “but this cannot be done in the wild.”

Again she emphasised: “Do not ever touch a snake in the wild.”

“I think there’s a misunderstanding of their behaviour,” she added.

“There are stories about them chasing people,” she said, while also stressing the need to “give them space”.

“Very few Australian people know how to deal with snakes in general,” she noted.

“Often people don’t know snakebite first aid.”

Although some countries have had a multitude of deaths by snakebite, Sandy said this was not such a big issue in Australia.


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