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  • September 23, 2022 3 min read

    It is officially spring and also the start of our snake season! You may find snakes out and about as early as September, especially on our warmer days, so it is essential to be aware of your surroundings when walking out in the paddock, as well as know the symptoms of snake bite in the unlikely event your horse is bitten. In this article, we will talk through the signs and symptoms of snake bite, what to do if you spot a snake and what measures you can take to prevent snakes from making your property home. 

    Signs and Symptoms of Snake Bite in Horses

    Horses are curious creatures, so naturally, if they see a snake, they may go and investigate. For this reason, horses are generally bitten on the face or muzzle, with leg bites less common. Each horse will also react to a snake bite differently due to the species of the snake, the amount of venom released (if any), and where the horse was bitten. If, however, a horse was bitten by a snake, it is common to see the following signs:

    • wobbly gait and weakness;
    • laboured breathing;
    • colic signs: sweating, pawing and rolling;
    • swollen muzzle;
    • dilated pupils; and
    • bleeding from the mouth or nose

    If you notice any of the above signs, you must call a vet immediately. 

    What to do if you see a snake on your property

    Snakes are generally shy creatures and will not attack unless under threat. If you see a snake on a property in an open space, such as a paddock, they are more than likely just passing through, and in this case, it is best to leave them be. But sometimes, snakes may inhabit feed sheds, stables or even homes, and if this happens, it is best not to let them sit there! If this is the case, then try to enclose the snake - for example, by shutting the door and popping a towel underneath so that it can’t escape. When the snake is securely locked in the room, call a certified snake catcher to catch the snake and relocate it. If the snake is directly outside the home, ensure you lock up any pets (and children!) and watch the snake to see where it goes (usually under a bush). You can also call a snake catcher to come and relocate the snake. 

    Remember, snakes are vital to our ecosystem and play an essential role, especially when it comes to controlling rat and mouse populations! Many species are protected, and it is illegal to kill a snake unless it is a direct threat to human life. 

    How to prevent snakes from calling your property home

    Whilst we cannot control where a snake might call home, there are steps that we can take to prevent snakes from making your property home. Every year, before spring, it is a great idea to go around your property and ensure long grasses are cut short, leaf matter is cleaned, and any rubbish that would make suitable hidey holes are cleaned. Snakes also feast on rats and mice, so it is also good practice to ensure that your stables and feed rooms are clean and clear of any feed and that all hay and feed are stored appropriately. It may also be appropriate to bait rats and mice to ensure populations are controlled. If you limit a snake’s food source and take away any good hiding spots, then you are less likely to have a permanent resident!

    At Oakford Stockfeeds, we are here to help! If you need any advice on bait control for rodents or storage information, we can help source products that will suit your requirements. Visit us in-store or online today!

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