Warmer than average temperatures through August mean snakes have become active earlier than usual this year on the Mid Coast, but there's no reason to be alarmed according to the men who catch them.
Taree-based snake-catcher Brenton Asquith and Forster-based snake-catcher Dave Boag both agreed they've had more calls than usual for this time of year, but it was by no means a cause for concern.
"Most years we don't get many calls before September," Mr Asquith said.
"They started a bit earlier in August this year, but it's not a massive difference."
Mr Boag said a switch had been thrown thanks to some warmer nights in the latter weeks of winter, but the spike in activity had only come slightly sooner than usual.
"I had nothing doing at all up until about three weeks ago," he said.
"Then all of a sudden I had three in one weekend."
Last weekend, Hillville resident Rodney O'Regan filmed two red-bellied black snakes in a tussle in the aptly named Snakes Creek on his property.
Mr Asquith explained that snakes became more active at this time of year for two reasons - to mate and to eat - but he also wanted to dispel some common misconceptions about the much-feared reptiles.
The first was that snakes were more dangerous or venomous at this time of year.
"Their venom doesn't change with the season," he said.
"It's only that they're more active."
He said their mating season ran from now until May, which would correlate with them being more active and more likely to be spotted by humans, but that didn't mean there was any reason to fear them.
"The main thing is that snakes aren't out to get people," he said.
"They only bite for two reasons - to eat something or defend themselves - and we're not seen as food."
He advised the best precautions people could take at this time of year were to be aware of where they were walking and to keep the doors to their houses and garages closed, as snakes could often be attracted inside because of the cool conditions.
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In regards to the types of snakes people were likely to come across on the Mid Coast, he said red-bellied black snakes and pythons were by far the most commonly encountered species.
Marsh snakes, yellow-faced whip snakes and green tree snakes are also fairly common in the region, but not considered dangerous.
Locally, death adders are often spotted around the Great Lakes, and the highly venomous rough-scaled snake and Stephens' banded snake are also common in the area around Seal Rocks.
Mr Boag added that a number of species were often wrongly identified as brown snakes, which were not as common as people thought.
Both men agreed the worst thing you could do was try and catch a snake, especially if it was considered venomous.
"The vast majority of bites occur when people are trying to catch them," Mr Boag said.
"It's not something you want to tangle with yourself," Mr Asquith added.
He advised contacting FAWNA on02 6581 4141 or a snake-catcher directly to have a snake removed.
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