I am an Australian. There are lots of us. We live our lives in a country that is full of some of the most dangerous snakes and spiders in the world. Yet we go about our daily lives without worrying about them too much.
We are taught from a young age to be aware and to do certain things to help minimise our risk. I have put this post together for people who need some extra tips to make sure they stay safe from spiders and snakes while traveling in Australia. I have also created a post on how to stay safe from Sharks and Crocodiles which you can read here.
A spider is not one of our predators. They are certainly more scared of us than we are of them. The thing about spiders is that they are small so if you are not looking for them you may not see them.
Awareness is key
The best way to protect yourself from spiders is to look closely at something before you pick it up, especially if there are spider webs around.
If a spider sees you coming it will scurry away. The only time you are likely to be bitten by a spider is if they feel threatened (for example, if you are unaware that they are there and are about to squash them with your hand, foot or some other body part).
It is drilled into us from childhood to look at something before we pick it up, especially if it is outside or has cobwebs on it.
If your shoes have been outside turn them upside down and give them a bit of a bang before you put them on. If you need to pick up a pot in the garden or move a bin, have a quick look at the area you are going to put your hands before you grab it.
There is really no need to worry about spiders especially if you exercise a bit of awareness.
I always remind my daughter to be aware of snakes when we are walking outdoors. I also stress that she should ‘Be Aware, Not Afraid’.
Snakes do not like the cold, so in the southern states, in the winter months they go into hibernation and have a long sleep. I love this time of year as we breathe a sigh of relief and can relax our vigilance.
In the north of the country it is warm all year so you will have to be aware all year round.
Snakes will generally start to wake up at the start of spring when we have had a few sunny days and it starts to warm up. In general, this is the most dangerous time of year for snakes because they have been hibernating they are at their most poisonous and are more easily startled.
Stamp Your Feet
Most snakes will slither away as soon as they realise you are coming. If you are in an area that you think may have snakes it is a good idea to stamp your feet as you walk so the snake can feel the vibrations and get out of your way.
Walk in the Centre of the Path
Always make sure you have a clear path to walk on and watch carefully where you are going. The wider the path you are walking on, the better because you will have more visibility.
On narrow bush tracks, you should be more aware because snakes can be camouflaged on the side of the trail which can take you by surprise.
Avoid Long Grass
Never walk through long grass if you can avoid it (I would never walk in long grass in snake season – ever. I will always find a way to avoid it.)
Protect Your Ankles
Most snake bites are on the ankles so it is a good idea to wear the appropriate gear, like hiking boots or a gator. This lowers your risk as their fangs are generally only a couple of millimeters in length so may only pierce into the boot or the gator rather than through your skin.
What To Do if You Do See a Snake
If you do see a snake and it has not noticed you the best thing to do is stop completely still and either wait until it slides away or turn around quickly and run away.
Do not stand around it and try and take a photo. Do not antagonise it. Snakes strike fast. If a snake begins to lift its head it is generally a sign it is about to strike, so turn around and run.
You do not need to worry about snakes too much. I have lived here my whole life and I have only ever seen 2 in the wild (well, one was on a bush walk and the other was in my backyard – eek).
To stay safe, awareness is the key. By being aware and careful about what you grab, where you walk and what you are doing you will be able to stay safe and enjoy our beautiful country like millions of Australians do every day.
No worries mate.
Please let me know in the comments if you have any other suggestions. Check out my other post on How to Stay Safe from Sharks and Crocodiles While in Australia.
Or if you are planning a trip you may like to look at my post on The 20 Best Destinations in Australia as decided by Travel Bloggers. Or you may be interested in how to find some of Western Australia’s amazing wildflowers.