By Rowan Forster
One of the nation’s most renowned reptile handlers has identified an area in Pakenham as a hotspot for snakes.
Raymond Hoser, Australia’s self-proclaimed “snakeman”, says properties on Railway Avenue and Henty Street – adjoining Pakenham’s rail corridor – are being inundated.
He estimated that he is summoned to relocate a snake in Pakenham every second day.
“Near the rail line, just off Racecourse Road, there are a lot of one-acre lots and it is a sanctuary for them,” he said.
“They like the rail lines because it’s warm and there aren’t many trees in the way, but when it gets too hot they travel from that area into properties looking for shade.
“Most people I see in those areas say they’ve never seen a snake, but they are living in those areas.”
Mr Hoser is also the head of Snakebusters, an interactive show he performs to schools and community groups that gives participants up close interactions with unique reptiles.
Last week, the snake catcher was performing at Pakenham Springs Primary School when he was tasked with relocating a deadly Copperhead from Oaklands Way.
“I’m seeing a lot of them in Pakenham now that the weather is warm,” he said.
“There’s never a dull moment.”
According to the Oaklands Way resident, the deadly snake was about 80 centimetres long and was very placid.
“The timing wasn’t great but other than that we had no issues,” he said.
“He just wanted to curl up and get out of the sun.”
Mr Hoser has been catching snakes for more than 15 years.
He became the first snake catcher to be officially licensed in Australia after years studying herpetology and the essential skills to safety convene deadly creatures.
While the “snakeman” is in hot demand, he suspects there are plenty more snake sightings in Pakenham than those he is tending to.
Snakes are characteristically afraid of human interaction, and will not strike unless threatened.
In the warmer months, they will quickly scramble when they hear somebody approaching.
The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning recommends those who spot a snake to remain calm and avoid antagonising the creature.
Snakes are protected under the Wildlife Act 1975 and it is illegal to capture, kill or harm them.