Snakes Vs Dogs – A New Twist In The Tail

Snakes versus dogs - an increasing problem
Snakes versus dogs – an increasing problem

– At pups4sale we have spoken with a number of members across Australia this summer who have reported unusually high levels of snake sightings around their homes. Of course together with the increased number of sightings go the increased numbers of dog on snake encounters too.

With Australia being home to many of the most venomous snakes in the world, such encounters often don’t end well for the dog (Editor’s note: couldn’t care less about the snake), but now there is an even stranger “twist in the tale” (pun intended!) of snake vs dog encounters. In the last week alone, two pythons in two different States have taken a liking to Toy dogs – and not in a friendly way either.

In Northern NSW, a 2.5m python was discovered early one morning inside the kennel of a Maltese X Chihuahua, with the dog nowhere to be found. The python had a large bulge in its stomach and the dog chain protruding from its mouth. The owner put two and two together, with Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary confirming suspicions the python had indeed eaten the dog.The snake is now in the care of a wildlife rescue organisation until it has regurgitated the dog chain.

An even larger, 3.5m python has also eaten a family’s beloved dog, this time in the Whitsunday region of Queensland. A Maltese X Shih-Tzu named “Walter” has fallen victim to the huge serpent, with the culprit discovered by the property owner under a verandah, replete with a “Walter-sized” bulge in its stomach. Walter actually belonged to the property owner’s seven year old daughter, who was left understandably distraught by the whole event. In this instance the Daily Dog does not know what happened to the snake, but we do hope it never has the opportunity to partake of another pooch.

For dog owners from warmer climes who have small dogs that live or at least sleep outside, both recent dog killings are a reminder to think about the issue of “python prevention”. Several tips the pups4sale team have come up to help protect dogs from pythons (as well as snakes in general) include:

. Have more than one dog! If one dog is being attacked by a python and unable to bark (as happened in the above two cases), you can bet a second dog will be going crazy in terms of barking its head off and alerting its owners.

. Invest in some snake repellers, as featured in an earlier blog post on the Daily Dog. They may or may not work (the jury is out on that one), but they surely can’t hurt either.

. Fence your dog kennels in snake-resistant mesh (often called “vermin mesh”), which is readily available from most hardware and produce stores. The holes in the mesh are too small for snakes to slither through, and as long as your kennels are made properly; with no gaps in the mesh, your best friend should be able to sleep soundly at night without having the “squeeze” put on him or her.

. Ensure you have no snake friendly habitat around your house, garage or other shed on your property. Pythons in particular love to get up into ceiling cavities, with many property owners in warmer climates consequently being given a nasty surprise when venturing into such spaces themselves.

. Keep your supply of “snake food” to a minimum – and we don’t mean Toy dogs! In our own garage and shed we are on a permanent “de-clutter” drive, with storage bins up on blocks so we can see anything that may be lurking under them. We also have a ready supply of rat/mouse bait available (where dogs can’t access it of course) to keep rodent numbers down to an absolute minimum. As snakes love to eat rodents, this also discourages snakes by limiting their food supply.

Hopefully the above tips give our readers some ideas on how to minimise snake + dog encounters around the home. We also hope the two cases highlighted here will be the last python vs dog encounters we hear of for a very long time.

14 Responses to “Snakes Vs Dogs – A New Twist In The Tail”

  1. Tony

    I purchased 10 Snake Repellers in the beginning of Summer and set them up on the farm, also around the Dog Kennel and garden. The beeping seems to bother a friend or two, but if it is keeping away snakes then ‘let it beep’.
    I have seen only one snake and it was in an area where no repellers were installed. The best news is that the repellers kept the bats and flying foxes away from my mango trees and there is a plus side here also, because bats can carry Hendra Disease and so the Horses seem to have gained a safety barriers also.

    • pups4sale

      Tony, that is the first report we have heard of snake repellers repelling bats too. The question is of course, why? Given it is supposed to be sending vibrations through the ground, they must be sending some through the air too. Obviously when they buzz they are causing vibrations in the airwaves, but could this be enough to scare bats off too? We shall have to try this out ourselves during the next mango season and see what happens. We would certainly like to hear if other people have found the repellers work on other critters too.

      • Tony

        Dear Pups4sale,
        What I did was, place a Repeller in every second Tree, about 7ft above the ground. I have 6 Bowens and they are approximately 20ft High.
        My main reason for putting them there was, that I have a large number of flowering trees around the house and driveway area. The Flying Foxes were here every night ( I counted 4) feeding on the flowers high in the trees about 40ft up. As I mentioned the previous year the bats came and then the flying foxes got to work on them and left very few for us.

        The bats generally eat the outside of the mango and don’t seem to feed on the flesh but they ruin the mango. Later when the fruit becomes ripened almost the Flying Foxes go at them, eating large flesh areas and bringing them to the ground, therefore they eat lots of them cause they don’t go to ground to eat. The birds then clean up the ones on the ground when they are over-ripe.

        I am telling you this because of the pattern that I observed and I will explain what I believe help to save ‘almost all’ of my mangoes. The birds took no notice of the Repellers when fruit became fully ripened.

        As the Repeller vibrates at the bottom. this may have had an effect on the airwaves. You can imagine that the Repellers are placed closer than the diagram for snakes and the beeping is almost constant and each one has a different beep as they cycle 4 beeping sounds.

        I believe that the airwave vibrations were constant enough to keep bat away and the sound was keeping the Flying Foxes away.
        After installing the Repellers in the ‘Trees’, not in the ground, the Flying Foxes moved to similiar trees on the neighbouring farm.
        Were my repellers working or did the trees simply run out of tasty morsels?

        All I can say is that “They didn’t come back and the Bats didn’t arrive”.
        I have no scientific evidence or explanation for this, but I thought by telling you what appeared to me as a successful experiment, someone else might try it and if it works for them too, then there is the evidence. “Not the reason” but just evidence.

        Hope this works and helps other readers and, of course, Pups4sale folk with mango trees.


        • pups4sale

          Tony, that is very interesting indeed & something the Daily Dog will follow up with in a future Post. Like many Queenslanders, we have a Mango tree too. Whilst our own fruit trees are placed in a row and bird/bat netted, we are going to encourage our members who don’t net and who do use snake repellers to put at least one up in a Mango tree like you did and see what they find. It is a fascinating experiment in itself and if it works there are going to be lots of happy “mango munchers” around, that’s for sure!

          • Tony

            Thanks for your remarks on both posts.. the poem and the repellers…

            I believe that placing just one repeller among a number of trees would simply encourage the bats to become acclimatise to the beeping, that is why I placed 3 so that the area of the trees was surrounded by beeping or vibrating.

            Hope you understand what I am trying to say… If one tree is left outside the area in ‘might’ encourage the bats to be ‘near’ the sound and eventually they may become complacent to the sounds and vibrations.

            Next year I am going to do the same thing with a modification, that is, to place the repellers on poles beside each tree so that they get full sunlight for recharging. Placing them in the tree so that they get the most sunlight possible is good but more sunlight they get the better they work.

            Whatever you do, I would be very interested in anything other people find out.

            I guess the ultimate test would be to place one or two repellers in trees where the bat ‘roost’ at night and see if they still inhabit the tree.
            I think if that worked then there would be a lot of happy people.

          • pups4sale

            Tony, we will certainly ask the members of pups4sale in future Posts to try this out and see what they come up with. Putting the repellers near some trees and leaving others “unprotected” (so to speak) would be another way to check the “annoyance factor” to birds & bats too. Anyway, we will probably have to wait until this time next year to learn anything more definitive.

  2. Tony

    If you can start the day without caffeine,
    If you can always be cheerful, ignoring aches and pains,
    If you can resist complaining and boring people with your trouble
    If you can eat the same food every day and be grateful for it,
    If you can understand when your loved ones are too busy to give you any time,
    If you can take criticism and blame without resentment,
    If you can conquer tension without medical help,
    If you can relax without alcohol,
    If you can sleep without the aid of pills,

    Then YOU MUST BE….
    The family Dog

    • pups4sale

      What a great poem, Tony! Did you write it yourself? It is certainly a true reflection of man’s best friend and his view of the world – that’s for sure.

      • Tony

        I wish I could lay claim to the poem but I didn’t write it, someone in America did and I simply modified it to look more ‘Aussie’.

        It was circulated by email, and had an Image of a dog sitting in a Yoga position.
        You can see the image on my facebook page… Tony Vet.
        My email is:

  3. Trudy Hamilton-Irvine

    As a site benefitting dog lovers, I think its inappropriate to call the owners of the 2nd dog taken by a python as loving, and refer to their dog as beloved family pet.
    View the video and I’m afraid no loving owner who has just lost their pet in such a horrific way laughs or calls its name nor films the event. It was sick in every way possible !

    • pups4sale

      Trudy, thanks for your comment. No member of the pups4sale team viewed the video you refer to. We understand the dog in question belonged to the family’s seven year old daughter, so if they were making light of the situation it would not be good at all. Personally we could not imagine doing that if we were in the same situation, so you definitely have a point there.

  4. Trudy Hamilton-Irvine

    With regard to the snake vibration devices keeping away bats…it would be good if this could be proven not only as a means to keep fruit from being eaten but one must not forget research has NOT figured out how dogs get Hendra Virus to date.
    Considering there has been a positive infected dog..and considering the high fatality rate amongs humans if contracting the disease, the less dogs mix with bats or bat contaminated fruit , the better.

    • pups4sale

      Here here, Trudy. We’re going to encourage as many members as possible to try this out next spring/summer. The more who do and who can give us feedback (positive or negative), the more of a clear picture we can build up.

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