As Australians endured widespread flooding in the country’s east on Tuesday, snakes and spiders were also being forced from their dwellings to escape the rising waters.
Perhaps most unnervingly were reports of the swarms of spiders, seeking refuge on raised trees, fences and in homes across the Mid North Coast of New South Wales (NSW) state, reports Xinhua news agency.
Social media posts showed swarms of thousands of spiders fleeing flood waters which had forced them from their usual hiding places.
Professional snake catcher Stuart Johnson from Reptile Solutions in Port Macquarie, told Xinhua that the dramatic rise in water levels had likely prompted all sorts of wildlife out of hiding.
“I’ve had a few calls for snakes that have found their way up on verandas and into sheds and things like that in properties that have been affected just sort of seeking refuge,” Johnson said.
Australia’s mid-north coast has just over 20 species of snakes, many of which are venomous including the notorious brown snake and red-bellied black snake.
However a good number of the snakes seen during the floods posed no risk to humans and were simply looking to curl up out of sight and wait for conditions to improve.
Despite being trained and equipped to handle snakes, Johnson said that with floodwaters blocking roads and cutting off properties he had been forced to consult remotely based on photos of the reptiles.
In most cases his advice is to steer clear of the snake, block its access to the rest of the property, and wait for it to move on.
Johnson warned that when residents begin the job of cleaning up and shifting debris, they may encounter snakes and other wildlife either trapped or seeking refuge within.
“In these unique situations those animals are quite likely to be distressed, injured and that can potentially increase the chances of them acting defensively where a bite or a sting can occur,” Johnson said.