Why Are Farmers Being Urged To Make Friends With Venomous Visitors?

Usually, snakes are unwelcome visitors on farms, but research suggests the benefits of their presence on agricultural land far outweighs the potential costs to farmers and graziers. A Macquarie University professor of evolutionary biology said they were a real asset, keeping vermin levels down and it was in farmers’ best interests to change their attitudes towards snakes and to tolerate rather than kill them. The obvious cost of having venomous snakes like brown snakes around is that they can bite you and you can die. But the reality is that very few people in Australia die from snake bites. What are your thoughts LiveTribers? Why are farmers being urged to make friends with venomous visitors?

Posted by on 26 Feb 2024

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    I don’t agree unfortunately. Less snakes the better as reduces the risk of pets, animals and people getting bitten ESP kids

    Posted by Shane on 05 Mar 2024

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    To keep mice levels down. Or otherwise you could have a cat or several of them, depending on the size of your farm.

    Posted by tassiegirl on 01 Mar 2024

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    If the benefits of having them around outweighs the negative, then it is worth having them around. They are an important part of their ecosystem, keeping vermin under control etc.

    Posted by Ally42 on 28 Feb 2024

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    Sounds like a cost effective way of managing vermin and in most situations snakes would only strike if their warning did not result in them being left alone for larger creatures.

    Posted by Kaede on 28 Feb 2024

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    You would need to have 100's of snakes to keep the vermin levels under control

    Posted by coaster on 01 Mar 2024

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    Despite the fact that snakes give me the HeebieJeebies I understand their value in keeping vermin at bay. Live and let live but I’d rather not encounter them!

    Posted by Valeemsa on 28 Feb 2024

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    We want more food, but we don't want the pests. Food grows on the land. We have to accept that there are some things we need to work around.

    Posted by Miro on 28 Feb 2024

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    Snakes in all shapes & sizes venomous & non venomous they are part of the cycle of life & have a place in society somewhere - if you let them do there job they will not harm you

    Posted by Kim on 28 Feb 2024

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    I'm not familiar with the theory that snakes, as a general rule, are unwelcome by farmers. You can't rely on the farm cat to keep down the mouse population on their own! Farmers are well aware of the pros outweighing the cons when it comes to snakes and I've never heard of trying to eradicate them.

    Posted by Michele on 28 Feb 2024

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    I've not heard that either Michelle, I have experienced the other side of the coin though. While staying with friends in Qld we were asked to be careful and not frighten the snakes, which was a bit bit of a surprise, snakes not being all that common in the City. Apparently everyone around there has red bellied black snakes and go out of their way to protect them. If you've never been overtaken by a snake while strolling downhill on a dirt track you are in for a treat.

    Posted by Nuffie on 29 Feb 2024

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    I live on the Gold Coast and plenty of Pythons, Browns, and all different varieties abound. This year we have had 10 large Pythons removed and a few of the nasties also. Other years we have had heaps of Browns on our doorstep, driveway, garden and inside. Not a fan of them at all but we call the snake catcher to have them removed to a safe location well away from us.

    Posted by coaster on 01 Mar 2024

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    Snakes are a necessary part of the eco system. Farmers do not want mice plagues eating all their crops. Most snakes try to avoid humans; let them be and they will be most unlikely to hurt you.

    Posted by Spiderwoman on 28 Feb 2024

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    Reduce pests and plagues such as mice. To preserve crops and stop land degradation

    Posted by Chris on 28 Feb 2024

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    Tara Rata

    As long as they don't hurt the livestock then leave them be i think

    Posted by Tara Rata on 28 Feb 2024

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    Just don't try and remove them yourself if your not familiar with them ! Leave them to the experts

    Posted by Jigsaw on 28 Feb 2024

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    Everything in moderation - snakes on farms are OK, as long as there aren't too many.

    Posted by David on 28 Feb 2024

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    If you can keep snake away from living areas then they are good for farmland

    Posted by Turbotom on 28 Feb 2024

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    Snakes should live far away from homesteads but can coexist close. They must be removed and relocated.

    Posted by Tammy on 28 Feb 2024

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    Snakes are good for the land

    Posted by Joshy79 on 28 Feb 2024

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    Farmers farm the land ,snakes live the land. I don't think they should intentionally kill snakes as they do keep vermin down etc. Sure if they're in the house or barn or endangering livestock, maybe do something then.

    Posted by Tillyn on 28 Feb 2024

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    I guess they do keep vermin down and are usually harmless if you don't upset them or walk on them. Every species has a place in the environment and snakes are probably as important as other species. I wouldn't like to encounter a snake though.

    Posted by Aussie5 on 28 Feb 2024

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    They'll definitely deal with rats and other rodents. As long as they leave the native ones alone. I wonder how they go if they eat cane toads?

    Posted by SagoLeo on 28 Feb 2024

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    It's their natural habitat that we have invaded. They have many good purposes and rarely bother humans unless humans bother them first. Just like sharks belong in the sea and humans get bitten. We need to be smarter in how we interact with nature.

    Posted by Amirah on 28 Feb 2024

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    These reptiles play there part in the natural cycle of life in their own way as do many other animals.

    Posted by Jibberman on 28 Feb 2024

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    because they are part of the balance of nature and the less we disturb that the better

    Posted by Geoff on 28 Feb 2024

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    I imagine you are more likely to be harmed by a venomous snake by hunting for it and trying to kill it rather than just letting it be.

    Posted by Ana on 28 Feb 2024

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    wrestling collector

    I think we starting to understand that the less we interfere with nature the better for all of us.

    Posted by wrestling collector on 28 Feb 2024

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    My step brother had a beautiful python in the stable that he left alone he saved hundreds of dollars in pest control while it was there.

    Posted by mevanwy on 28 Feb 2024

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    i think most farmers leave snakes do their own thing, unless the snake wont leave a spot, then the safety of the farmer and his workers is the main priority, and i think farmers have no problem killing a snake then.

    Posted by Megan on 28 Feb 2024

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    I guess they are useful in their own way - eating mice and the like, and if left alone are harmless. They are in their own environment, we have just invaded their space. But they still pose a risk to working dogs and us humans. I'm happy if I don't have to cross paths with them. Let the farmers choose to deal with them on their own properties if necessary.

    Posted by SEARS on 27 Feb 2024

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    A Python would do just as well.

    Posted by Paula on 27 Feb 2024

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    Good for keeping mice numbers doen

    Posted by Anthony on 27 Feb 2024

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    snakes are good for the environment

    Posted by Joshy79 on 27 Feb 2024

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    Australian Farmers have always been aware of snakes and mostly give them a wide berth. They are a useful part of the food chain and eat the rats, mice, rabbits and even each other.

    Posted by Elandra on 27 Feb 2024

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    I wouldn't make a good farmer's wife. I hate snakes and spiders.

    Posted by smurfgirl on 27 Feb 2024

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    One thing they may need to worry about is their working dogs getting bitten. Those dogs can be expensive and take a long time to train.

    Posted by Libracat on 27 Feb 2024

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    When the brown snakes are well fed with mice and rats and birds, they are less likely to bite you. You do not cross the path of a snake - give them a wide berth. Farmers are used to snakes.

    Posted by souths on 27 Feb 2024

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    Keeping vermin under control is important for farmers but they will have to weigh the risks of venomous snakes as they proceed down this path. Good luck, farmers!!!!!!!!

    Posted by breen7 on 27 Feb 2024

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    I guess they keep the rodents at bay - its a natural cycle and has always been that way. People are just becoming more aware of it nowadays because we have so much more urban sprawl and we are invading the snakes terrirory - I think that farmers are well aware of their presence on their properties and just need to take care

    Posted by bidbo on 27 Feb 2024

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    there must be a benefit to farmers

    Posted by Vie88 on 27 Feb 2024

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    All of it is overrated (snakes, spiders, etc.). It means the regions are still alive. Just be a little bit careful going around.

    Posted by Guntis on 27 Feb 2024

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    They can eat mice

    Posted by YvetteP on 27 Feb 2024

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    Tara Rata

    Snakes will attack if provoked but mostly they just want to be away from humans. Stick clear and your both better off.

    Posted by Tara Rata on 27 Feb 2024

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    Don’t mess with the food chain. Snakes are fine as long as you leave them alone.

    Posted by tutti_cutie on 27 Feb 2024

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    Farmers have been tolerating snakes for years. It is part of living on the land in Australia.

    Posted by merryl on 27 Feb 2024

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    Nature at work if you ask me. As human beings we to some extent dont understand that we interfere with nature and that has consequences - this is just another example

    Posted by stratman on 27 Feb 2024

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    This has been happening for years. Snakes are only in trouble when they enter homes.

    Posted by beauree on 27 Feb 2024

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    agree. snakes are more helpful than dangerous.

    Posted by sulter on 27 Feb 2024

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    ALL snakes, whether venomous or not, are a NECESSARY part of the ecosystem. Farmers just need to stay safe and alert

    Posted by Cazzaj on 27 Feb 2024

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    I really hate snakes, especially venomous ones. I don't support this.

    Posted by LOVE on 27 Feb 2024

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    Sounds like a dangerous plan

    Posted by Jigsaw on 27 Feb 2024

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    Having lived on a farm in the middle of nowhere for half my life, I can see the professor's viewpoint of using snakes in destroying rabbits and mice, but have you seen the numbers of mice and rabbits that farmers are dealing with? I guess over time and under the right conditions, the plan might work, but just look at all the species we've introduced to control others that backfired spectacularly or just didn't make much difference at all. Foxes abound, cane toads are plentiful... numerous other examples. For a snake bite on the leg to kill an adult, you need quite a long, powerful snake to pierce a new set of quality jeans with high socks underneath. A child, on the other hand, can quickly die from a big snake bite. I feel too much pressure is currently placed on farmers who are not being properly paid for feeding the country and if they are supposed to befriend snakes or keep some as pets, surely some government subsidized training courses would be in order, no? Or could the government buy them several varieties of non-venomous types instead and grant exemptions? I'd be interested to see the numbers of sheep and cattle dead from snake bites too. However, of all my personal very close and brief snake encounters on the farm as well as those of family members show that snakes like being left alone to do their thing while we do ours. My dad, back in the early 1970's, was cut-off by a snake while halfway down a well repairing it. He just waited about half an hour for the snake to leave before leaving too. I'm no fan of reptiles, but I'd welcome any initiative to stop killing both them and all the other chemical, etc programs used to destroy rabbits and mice, etc. On the other hand, I don't think many farmers would welcome such a move. The further out from cities you look, rural communities tend to be very religious and mostly Christian here. The bible teaches that snakes are the devil incarnate, are the most cursed of all creatures and must be destroyed, ever since Adam. That mentality and justification is very strong there and I'm not sure how that's going to change.

    Posted by vegandelight on 26 Feb 2024

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    Never seen a snake in person myself. It's all right for those people doing research into snakes to that say that, but commonsense would tell you it's potentially dangerous to let snakes wander around on your property. They also occasionally get into peoples homes, and no one wants that. Also animals on the farm risk being bitten. Cant risk that. If they aren't venomous then it's probably ok, but how can you choose which ones end up there? You might not get the harmless ones.

    Posted by MS on 26 Feb 2024

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    havnt we invaded their territory, the rats and mice are out of control. They killed the cats in England because they thought they were witches familiars and what did they get as a result of their stupidity the PLAUGE. Snake keep the rodent population under control

    Posted by Tigon on 27 Feb 2024

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    Personally hate the damn things, only good snake is a dead one (but they can still harm you even then, if your not careful). In reality it is illegal to kill then in Australia. see following.........Is it illegal to kill snake in Australia? Snakes are protected by law in all states and territories of Australia and may not be killed unless they threaten life. Offences under the Nature Conservation Act 2014 carry severe penalties. Snakes cannot be taken from the wild, kept without a licence, or traded without a licence.

    Posted by Acid-Rain on 26 Feb 2024

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