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Safe Snake Handling with Ranger Dan

Safe Snake Handling with Ranger Dan

You wouldn’t think snakes had anything to do with mining, would you? But working in remote areas means we have to look out for these slithery guys, especially during the wet season!
Key Insight
  • Snake venom was used to develop medicine, including diabetes and heart disease medicines and treatments for autoimmune diseases, cancer and pain.
  • Snake identification is important because if someone does get bitten by a snake, we must determine what anti-venom medicine will be the most effective.

There are over 200 snake species in Australia, and over half of these are venomous. That’s why Macmahon regularly runs a snake-handling course for our staff to learn how to navigate an encounter.

We invited Ranger Dan from Hands on Wildlife in Townsville to our Byerwen mine. He specialises in snake handling and relocation. We get the lowdown on the snakes in the areas we operate and learn how to identify them.

Eastern Browns, for example, are commonly found in Queensland. These guys are poisonous and are usually a shade of brown but can also be grey or black, with a cream belly and pink or orange spots.

Safe snake handling is a crucial aspect of the course. Ranger Dan told us that if we encounter a snake, the designated “handler” should “guide” it away without handling it. However, if we must physically move the snake, we should always use aids, e.g. hooks or tongs, to move it into a bag and safely relocate it to another area.

We never kill snakes! At Macmahon, we’re passionate about biodiversity. Snakes are a part of our wildlife, and we respect them. A world without snakes would cause many other problems like an increase in rat and mice populations.

Every time we run the snake handling course, we learn something new! The staff love learning about local wildlife and becoming experts at safe handling to keep their team safe.

Are you an animal lover? Why not support endangered species by donating to the Australian Wildlife Conservancy?